Recent Articles

Call for Nominations: JSFD Early Career Scholar Award 2021

We are pleased to announce the second annual call for nominations for the “JSFD Early Career Scholar Award,” to be awarded to an early career JSFD author in recognition of significant scholarly contributions to the sport for development field. The winner of the award will be recognized online and in a newsletter shared with all JSFD followers.

Volume 8, Issue 15 published (Special Issue)

The Journal of Sport for Development (JSFD) is pleased to announce the publication of its fifteenth issue, a special issue on sport and livelihoods guest edited by Mitchell McSweeney, Sarah Oxford, Ramón Spaaij and Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst.

Sport and livelihoods: An introduction to the special issue

Sport for development (SFD) has continued to evolve as a field to the point where it has been suggested as an institutionalized sector within the broader international development discipline (Darnell et al., 2019; McSweeney et al., 2019). Research, practice, and policy related to SFD has increased greatly since the new millennium, including empirical analysis related to the management, innovative processes, and partnerships of organizations (Welty Peachey et al., 2018; Svensson & Cohen, 2020; Svensson & Hambrick, 2016), sociocultural investigations into the power relations across and within North/South contexts (Darnell, 2012; Hayhurst, 2014, 2017; McSweeney, 2019), explorations of gender (in)equalities and (de)colonization (Darnell & Hayhurst, 2012; Oxford, 2019; Oxford & McLachlan, 2018), and studies of the (un)intended consequences of SFD programs for participants who are “targeted” as development beneficiaries (Spaaij, 2011, 2013a; Whitley et al., 2016), to name but a few. Yet, although critical and important insights into the complexities and premise of SFD continue to grow, and organizations continue to emerge within the field (at least pre-COVID-19), there remains a need to examine further the potential opportunities of sport, if any, for promoting and offering livelihood opportunities to specific populations (Schulenkorf et al., 2016). This special issue aims to advance theoretical, empirical, and practical insights into the relationship between SFD and livelihoods.

“I feel happy when I surf because it takes stress from my mind”: An Initial Exploration of Program Theory within Waves for Change Surf Therapy in Post-Conflict Liberia

Surf therapy is a novel form of sport for development (SFD) intervention being utilized to support well-being within post-conflict settings. There is currently little research exploring surf therapy program theory in SFD contexts. Theoretical exploration is important for optimization, monitoring, and further expansion of service delivery. This research utilized pragmatic qualitative methods to explore participant-perceived impacts and outcomes within the Waves for Change (W4C) surf therapy intervention, as implemented in Harper, Liberia, that aims to support youth well-being. Twenty-three past W4C participants (17 males and 6 females, mean age = 15.8 years, SD = 3.6 years, range 11-25 years) took part in semistructured interviews about their experiences of surf therapy. Data were analyzed through constant comparative analysis. Six impacts and outcomes were identified within three intervention domains: Social, Skills Curriculum/Bananas Culture, and Surfing. The findings highlight sport as an adaptable vehicle for improving well-being and skills within successful intervention delivery while providing a foundation for further in-depth exploration of program theory. Furthermore, the findings provide empirical evidence on how to optimize and proliferate surf therapy within other post-conflict settings. The findings also provide transferable conclusions for the improvement of SFD more generally.

Volume 8, Issue 14 published

The Journal of Sport for Development (JSFD) is pleased to announce the publication of its fourteenth issue.

Conceptualizing participatory evaluation in sport for development: A researcher’s perspective on processes and tensions from Vietnam

Participatory Evaluation (PE) has been adopted as a methodology in Sport for Development (SFD); however, there is a wide scope of conceptualizing how and what a PE research process may entail. Specifically, more nuance and insight are needed regarding how PE is a formidable research process between SFD researcher and SFD organizational staff. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the organic and planned methodological processes of conducting a PE. Hence, this study provides empirical insight into conducting a PE with an SFD project located in Vietnam. Drawing from my fieldwork, I detail the initiation of the PE, the process of establishing methods, data collection, data analysis, and results, and then comment on the researcher-to-practitioner tensions that arose. The data highlights that while participatory research (PE in this case) is increasing, there are processual considerations and limitations that need to be accounted for in the field. Inasmuch, this paper adds to pertinent methodological discussions by providing an in-depth account of PE research in SFD practice.

Call for Papers: Seeking manuscripts for Volume 9

JSFD is currently seeking submissions for Volume 9, publishing in 2021. Manuscript submission is a rolling process. JSFD invites original research and case studies related to Sport for Development from across disciplines, geographies and thematic areas.

An examination of an Aotearoa/New Zealand plus-sport education partnership using livelihoods and capital analysis

Education is regarded as a human right and fundamental to achieving other human rights, such as decent work. Education is essential for developing human potential, and it can help address growing social and economic inequality. However, for many Indigenous populations in the global North, realizing their fullest potential thorough mainstream education is mired with difficulties, and this has had serious implications for employability and livelihoods creation. This paper presents research undertaken in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) where the Taranaki Rugby Football Union (TRFU) has partnered with local education provider Feats to establish the Māori and Pasifika Rugby Academy (MPRA). The purpose of the partnership is to provide an alternative education pathway to increase livelihoods opportunities. Undertaking a capital and livelihoods analysis of the TRFU and Feats partnership has allowed us to see more clearly different aspects of the MPRA program and bring to the fore other features of the learners’ journeys. While the building of human capital through education is important, of greater significance is the cultural and psychological capital that is built through program attendance.

CrossFit partner work: Strength building for SDP

This article provides recommendations for Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) practitioners focused on improving participants’ livelihoods. Practitioners should consider developing programs specifically for previously incarcerated persons that utilize CrossFit or similar fitness-based methods with thoughtful partnerships. Though returning citizens have complicated challenges reentering the job market, fitness-based programs may offer employment opportunities. CrossFit is large, growing, and has low barriers to entry. It supplies the additional benefits of physical activity, a supportive community, and the ability to be replicated easily in different contexts. Grounded in the example of UliftU in Pennsylvania, USA, and its partners, this article highlights an unexplored avenue for SDP programs. The article identifies lessons learned concerning client populations and partnerships and suggests avenues for further study.