1. The local level, where sports really directly engage the poor
This section considers how local sports initiatives (whether focusing on sport for street kids, sport in post conflict situations such as refugee camps, community sports or for example school sports) should be supported. As we talk here about initiatives that are based on local sport structures, they are in a comparatively suitable position to develop befitting sports events (provided that external support is available). The key question for all these initiatives however is how to continue the activities after the initial support has ended. Which organisational structures need to be established, and which other conditions need to be met to make the activities on local level sustainable? In practice many projects prove unsustainable once donor support is no longer available, and many projects face difficulties in creating a solid organisational base for continuing sports activities.
The theme of local initiatives is very relevant within the broader framework of Sports and Development, because the foundation for sustainable development is often laid at the local level (involving some kind of organisational base).
2. The (inter-) national level, where local programmes need to be embedded
The local level poses a challenge to national bodies in developing countries and overseas, and international sports or development organisations active in the developing world! In order to realise sustainable results at the local level, national or international support needs to be adapted to the local context. In fact it needs to be tailor-made. But that is easier said than done. For a national body or an international organisation, largely operating at a distance from the local level, the required adaptation can be quite difficult. An essential link between the national or international level and those sustainable results we all strive for, is the local organisation. Therefore co-operation between the supra-local level and local structures is key. In this co-operation, however, both sides need to be recognised.
How does this co-operation then work in practise? How is it being set up and which steps are being taken afterwards? And how does the co-operation between a national domestic body and a local structure differ from the co-operation between a national foreign body or an international organisation and a local structure? And what contribution can be expected towards the creation of a so-called 'enabling environment', necessary to facilitate sustainable development? What if such an environment is completely absent? And what if the local structure concerned lacks capacity to be a partner in the co-operation that is deemed so important, or if a local structure is not there at all?
© UNICEF/Malawi 040495F-credit Christine Nesbitt
© UNICEF/Malawi 020508F-credit Ami Vitale
3. The capacity building level
The capacity building level (including development of trainers, coaches, officials, administrators, policy writers) at both local and (inter-) national level. In this dimension the focus shifts from the projects and events people co-ordinate, to the organisations these sports-and-development-workers work for.
Special skills are needed to teach sports in a technical, safe and social way to different groups and to manage an organisation in which sports activities are organised, even if involvement of the person(s) concerned is on a voluntary basis. Think for example of coaches, who not only are instructors, but also educators and role models, which comes with heavy responsibilities and which requires special training. Good education of sports coaches and sports management is therefore crucial in the development of and through sports.
Local sports organisations, but also schools and welfare organisations, working for example with refugees or with street youth, have long neglected the special needed expertise for a more inclusive training of their sports staff. The same applies to sports specific training by outside experts (Technical Assistance) .These programmes have often been short term and hardly adapted to the local situation, to needs of local trainers or to regulations on qualifications of the country itself. Thus there are all these sports courses in which general issues, such as leadership, health and, gender are not included. Other organisations could introduce these important aspects in these courses, but partnerships for this purpose are missing. On the other hand, there are the educational programmes for teachers, and training programmes for health, welfare or youth workers that do not (seriously) pay attention to the potential role of sport activities.
Nowadays, with sports having raised high expectations, a mind change is occurring. A positive mind change with regard to educational and training programmes needing to be more inclusive and long term focussed. And a positive mind change with regard to the need expertise in that respect. Some projects have been set up with a wider and long-term perspective and in co-operation with local education institutes and in line with existing qualification systems. There have also been initiatives related to local curriculum development in sport and PE, which is being recognised as important and step by step the more social goals of sport are being integrated in the courses. But it is just a start.
4. The sustainability or long-term (economic) impact dimension
Which includes local and (inter-) national level. However in this dimension the local and (inter-) national level are looked at over a longer time span, and from a bigger distance - looking at overall impact rather than tracing the individual effects of single projects and events or even programmes.
Effective development must be sustainable and human-centred. Sustainable development requires that the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and human development requires that people's choices are enlarged, providing all members of society with increased opportunities and the conditions necessary to live long and fulfilling lives. Well-designed sport programmes work to assist meeting the objectives of sustainable human development, by contributing to economic and social development and environmental sustainability.
Addressing poverty through sport requires tools to ensure effective stimulation of local community structures, which are embedded in a larger (inter) national context that enables these community structures to prosper. The capacity of people and organisations engaged in sport and poverty programmes needs to be sufficiently developed and at the same time the long term effect in terms of sustainability needs to be incorporated from the very beginning. In this toolkit we present a number of practical tools that can help to incorporate these four issues.