Friday, April 10, 2009

Using Sports for Social and Economic Development

This piece from Next American City looks at sports programs around that world that aim to aid social and economic development.

Back on My Feet is part of an international trend of using sport as a means to alleviate urban problems. In 2005, the UN General Assembly declared the International Year of Sport and Physical Education to encourage the promotion and development of sports programs across the world in combating poverty, improving global health and reaching the Millennium Development Goals. That same year, the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sports (CABOS) was formed to promote “the value of sport as a tool for social and economic development” in the 53 member countries of the British Commonwealth. The 12-member board has representatives from Barbados to Malaysia and even a South African specialist in disability sport. Their 2006 advisory report points to the role sports play in providing health benefits, improving academic attainment, developing leadership skills, and creating community cohesion.

...Other urban sports programs are seeing similarly hopeful results. The Homeless World Cup, an annual, international soccer (football) tournament with grassroots football programs for the homeless in over 70 nations, reports improvements across the board in motivation, social relations, employment, housing and drug and alcohol dependency since its first game in Graz, Austria in 2003.

Taking it to the Streets
Next American City
March 31, 2009