Sport for Development is a powerful and proven way to facilitate change for disadvantaged youth in developing communities who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality.
Programs like ChildFund Pass It Back provide children and young people with important learning opportunities, as well as the chance to take part in organised sport, in many cases for the very first time.
So let’s take this opportunity to reflect on how sport for development programs help vulnerable children and youth grow into empowered, confident and healthy adults.
Sport for Development promotes diversity and inclusion
Sport for development programs promote diversity and inclusion by:
1. Bringing people together from all walks of life. All races, religions, genders and cultures are unified by a common passion: their love of the game.
2. Providing shared experiences, and creating a space where players, coaches, families and communities feel a sense of belonging.
3. Connecting people within and across borders, creating relationships between disparate social groups and building more inclusive communities.
4. Challenging prejudicial attitudes and breaking gender barriers.
5. Uniting players and fans around a common set of values, which drives positive behaviours both on the off the field.
6. Providing opportunities for children and young people to participate in their local, regional, national and international community.
Working as a team helps to break down barriers of exclusion, reduces inequality, and builds stronger communities for young people over time.
Sport for Development creates leaders
Sport for Development programs transform children into future leaders by:
1. Connecting youth and children with local leaders and decision-makers.
2. Empowering children and transforming them into role models for friends and family.
3. Creating new role models for women and girls in the community by facilitating positive shifts in gender norms.
4. Teaching children the value of teamwork, and how to be respected as a leader.
5. Motivating children to set goals, plan for the future, and challenge themselves.
6. Providing the opportunity for children to connect with each other, and develop relationships that can create positive change in the community.
Children develop leadership skills that they can take back to their homes and communities, helping them become positive vehicles of change.
Sport for Development teaches life skills
ChildFund Pass It Back is a program which provides children with coaches from their own communities; role models who teach valuable life skills:
1. Increased confidence in their own abilities.
2. The value of teamwork, and setting goals as a group.
3. How to manage conflict both on an off the field.
4. Improved concentration and focus.
5. The importance of rules, and respect for others.
6. How children can equip themselves with a sense of self-discipline..
7. The value of becoming an effective communicators.
Through sport for development programs, young people from marginalised communities are given life-long, skills and knowledge to take with them into their adult futures.
Sport for Development improves children’s wellbeing
Sport for development programs provide children with regular physical activity, improving their overall health by:
1. Developing healthy bones, muscles and joints.
2. Improving heart and lung function.
3. Improving balance, coordination and posture.
4. Helping prevent chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
5. Providing an emotional outlet, helping to relieve stress and anxiety.
6. Facilitating social interaction in a positive environment, which provides enjoyment.
Children have plenty to gain from participating in sport for development programs, particularly in terms of the benefits to their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Facilitating change with Sport for Development programs
As you can see, young people from all communities have a lot to gain from participating in programs that use Sport for Development to provide important learning opportunities.
By encouraging children to be active participants in their communities, creating new role models, and teaching valuable life skills, sport for development programs can transform young people into leaders of the future.
Want to help more children have the opportunity to learn, play and grow? Consider supporting ChildFund Pass It Back, a sport for development program operating in countries including Laos, The Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
It’s your generosity that keeps the program going, and we’d love to expand into more communities and countries, bringing the power sport to even more disadvantaged children across Asia.