Category archives for Sport and Social Cohesion

The Contribution of Sport to the Sustainable Development Goals: Insights from Commonwealth Games Associations

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are hailed as a common language to unite a global commitment towards a change of trajectory regarding social, economic, and environmental development issues. Although not overtly cited within the SDGs or their related targets, sport has been widely accepted and promoted as an enabler of social change and a mechanism through which to strategically map and measure commitments to sustainability. However, despite the numerous case study examples of specific sport-based programs that have demonstrated the potential of sport to contribute to the SDGs, there is limited knowledge about the currency and value that the SDGs hold for key sport stakeholders in development, and a shortage of concrete evidence to assess the uptake and integration at the level of national policy. In an attempt to address this shortage, this paper presents insights from the analysis of secondary data collected by the Commonwealth Games Federation from 62 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) in relation to their perspectives on the contribution of sport to the SDGs. The paper provides examples of specific areas of strength, or those in need of further development, to present a baseline for the current state of play in understanding the contribution from individual CGAs to the SDGs.

Principles-of-action used by an eductrainer to create social bonds through sport in a psychosocial intervention program

This article utilizes the theories of social bond and carnal sociology to analyze the role of the eductrainer in the sport-based intervention program DesÉquilibres. Methodologically, an action research study was carried out with three cohorts of adolescents. Our qualitative data collection was based on (a) interviews with 27 adolescents aged 14 to 17 years (cohorts 1 and 3), (b) a focus group of five eductrainers (paired with cohort 1), and (c) observant participation of cohorts 2 and 3. A thematic analysis revealed four principles-of-action constituting the social bond where risk-taking and its staging play an essential role: (a) a risky proposition to create the social bond, (b) recognition of the adult-in-the-making to anchor the social bond, (c) organization of the risky proposition to scaffold the social bond, and (d) physical commitment of the eductrainer to embody the social bond. Research has shown the potential of risk-taking to create and strengthen social bonds in the context of sports-based interventions.

Exploring the Impact of Soccer Camp on Social Identity for Youth with Cerebral Palsy

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of an exclusive, residential cerebral palsy (CP) soccer camp on social identity for youth with CP. Using a basic qualitative methods approach, the aim of this study was to explain the six-day CP soccer camp experience from the campers’ perspective, guided by the three processes of Social Identity Theory (SIT), to determine if a CP soccer camp setting impacted the development of the participants’ social identity. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were collected online through video software from 13 participants who were purposefully sampled between the ages of 10-18. Qualitative data was initially analyzed through a deductive coding lens, then further analyzed through an inductive coding process. Results: Findings suggest that participation in an intentionally designed, exclusive, residential CP soccer camp supported two of the three processes in SIT and provided opportunities for youth with CP to feel connected and similar to others with disabilities. Participants enjoyed being around other individuals with CP in a supportive sport environment. Conclusion: This study indicated that CP soccer camp assisted in the campers’ social identity development in two of the three processes of SIT. Future research implications are discussed.

Levelling up: Opportunities for sport for development to evolve through esport

As one of the most disruptive forces to the sports industry in decades, the esports industry has borrowed long standing approaches used in sport to emerge and establish itself in the sporting landscape. Esports has a growing appeal among a youth demographic that is similar to the youth demographic targeted by the Sport for Development (SFD) community. This paper examines the aspects of esports that the SFD sector can leverage to enhance program delivery to drive deeper systemic change, including leveraging gamification, harnessing the reach of mobile gaming, and capitalizing on the variety of games and consoles available to achieve nuanced SFD outcomes. The paper encourages starting increased dialogue on how video games and esport may be complementary tools for SFD organizations that want to innovate or evolve how they create and deliver impact.

Youth, “waithood,” and social change: Sport, mentoring, and empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa

The transition from youth to adulthood in African nations has changed markedly in recent years. Social and economic challenges often lead to the creation of a disengaged and alienated generation struggling to participate actively in society. Drawing on the personalized accounts of a group of youth leaders experiencing such conditions, this paper presents empirical findings from a small-scale qualitative study of one Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) initiative that, through various community-based projects, aims to provide personal, social, and educational support for young people in Mzuzu, a city in northern Malawi. The paper seeks to uncover some of the reasons behind youth disengagement within this particular context and explores how empowerment-based mentoring is used by youth leaders to bring about change in the lives of the young people with whom they work. The paper concludes that amid the wider tensions and anxieties of youth transition in sub-Saharan Africa, strategic and intentional relationship building (through mentoring) can provide a catalyst for personal development, intergenerational connection, and social change.

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.

Exploring migrant families’ acculturation and livelihoods in Canada and the role of sport participation

Canada is poised to increase the number of migrants arriving annually. Growing attention is being directed toward how sport can be managed in a way that is accessible and inclusive of immigrant populations, as well as how sport can foster new opportunities for migrants to develop connections within their communities. The objectives of this research were to explore broadly the realities of the migrant settlement experience and migrants’ livelihoods in Toronto and the role sport had on these experiences. Using an exploratory case study methodology, this paper explores the participants’ strategies of acculturation and the implications of these strategies for developing social and cultural capital. Youth sport programming is discussed as having little effect on the financial capacities and livelihoods of migrants. As illustrated within this paper, sport has the ability to facilitate crosscultural relationships and influence acculturation strategies. However, sport-specific cultural capital produced asymmetries in the outcomes of sport participation. While sport may serve a role in developing social outcomes, efforts to improve the access of migrants to employment opportunities within their field of experience, either within or outside of sport contexts, are required to positively affect the livelihoods of migrants.

Insights on the funding landscape for monitoring, evaluation, and research in sport for development

The international community’s increasing attention to sport in policy decisions, along with growing programmatic and scholarship activity, demonstrate the need for data that facilitates evidence-informed decision making by organizations, policy actors, and funders within the Sport for Development (SfD) field. To achieve this, there is a need for effective and sustainable investment, resource mobilization, and funding streams that support meaningful and rigorous monitoring, evaluation, and research. In this paper, the SfD funding landscape as it pertains to monitoring, evaluation, and research is critically appraised by a diverse writing team. This appraisal is informed by our experiences as stakeholders, along with findings from two recent systematic reviews and knowledge accumulated from SfD literature. Various topics are discussed (e.g., intervention theories, external frameworks, targeted funding, collective impact, transparent funding climate), with the conclusion that all actors must support the pursuit of participatory, rigorous, process-centered (but outcome-aware) monitoring, evaluation, and research that aims to enhance our understanding of SfD. Ultimately, this monitoring, evaluation, and research should improve both policy and intervention design and implementation while also defining and testing more realistic, contextually relevant, culturally aware outcomes and impacts.

Formalizing sports-based interventions in cross-sectoral cooperation: Governing and infrastructuring practice, program, and preconditions

Sports-based interventions are utilized today in many countries in cross-sectoral cooperation, for instance, as a means of social inclusion. However, not enough is known about the conditions of development or the formalization of operations. Accordingly, in this article, we focus on two instances of midnight football carried out in two suburban areas in Sweden in order to explore the mechanisms and conditions for interventions to achieve increased formalization and sustained operation. Through an analysis of interviews and network visualizations, we examine how collaborating agencies conceive of and describe their role in the assemblages of agencies surrounding and enabling the interventions. By looking closely at the forms of collaboration and communication in these networks, we find that the interventions have developed locally and not according to a central or strategic design. We identify three levels of design within the interventions, where communication, cooperation, and formalization can be governed: practice, program, and preconditions. Through a detailed analysis of these levels of intervention, we present crucial mechanisms for increased formalization and sustained operation and how these mechanisms differ between sites. In conclusion, on the basis of our analysis, we discuss refined approaches to understanding the temporality and interchangeability in the formation of cooperation and thus offer a refined conceptualization of the formalization of operations.

Understanding female youth refugees’ experiences in sport and physical education through the self-determination theory

As female youth from refugee backgrounds are forced to migrate and resettle, they face unique challenges not often addressed by their host community. Participating in physical activity (PA), however, may pave a pathway to healthy resettlement. Nine Burmese females from refugee backgrounds participated in semistructured interviews and discussed their experiences in sport and physical education and how those experiences relate to their sense of belonging, autonomy, and relationships, as well as their ability to adapt. Participants then completed a photovoice task where they photographed highlights and challenges they have faced in PA. Photographs were analyzed and discussed in a follow-up interview. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. Resulting dimensions such as sport incompetence, growth mindset, importance of autonomy and choice, and desired peer relationships support Ryan and Deci’s (2000) self-determination theory. Practical implications for PE teachers, coaches, and school administrators are discussed. These results inform school districts of potential barriers and future interventions that could help this population better resettle and encourage participation in sports and physical activity.

Lasting social value or a one-off? People with intellectual disabilities’ experiences with volunteering for the Youth Olympic Games

This article serves as a follow-up on a previous study and looks at how volunteering at a major sporting event has affected the lives of a group of volunteers with intellectual disabilities two years after volunteering. The aim is to examine how volunteering at an Olympic event may be a source for lasting social value, operationalized as an increase in social capital and quality of life. Qualitative interviews were conducted on a selection of former volunteers with intellectual disabilities (n=8). In five of the interviews, parents of the interviewees also functioned as facilitators for the interviews. The same five parents were also interviewed in brief, semistructured interviews. This study shows that the event had a limited effect on bridging social capital, while having a stronger impact on the group`s bonding social capital. Moreover, the event has affected the quality of life for the participants to various degrees by being a source for positive memories, enforced by visual reminders such as the volunteer uniform frequently worn by the former volunteers. The volunteer experience also serves as a bridging element, bringing together groups of people with little in common. In some cases, volunteering also led to employment in regular occupations.

“It’s borderline hypocrisy”: Recruitment practices in youth sport – based interventions

Sport is often promoted as a vehicle through which a variety of social policy outcomes can be achieved. One of the most common outcomes is the enhancement of social inclusion opportunities for marginalized youth populations. While a growing number of studies have examined the potential of sport-based interventions to address broader social concerns, few have focused on the recruitment activities used within such programs to engage youth populations. Drawing on interview data collected within two sport-based interventions delivered in London (UK), which both aimed to engage marginalized young people through sport, this article intends to examine three main issue: first, to explore the practices undertaken by the two organizations to recruit and retain participants in their sport-based interventions, and second, to examine the implications of these practices on participant recruitment strategies. Third, the article contends that within a context shaped by a neoliberal agenda, the necessity to meet predetermined participation targets encourages organizations to use the most efficient means possible to maximize numbers of program participants. However, such recruitment strategies often overlook young people whose social exclusion is more complex or acute, and who, arguably, are in greater need of intervention support.

CrossFit Sarajevo: Positioning against dominant ethnonational narratives

More than 20 years since its bloody war, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to suffer under structurally imposed ethnic divisions. Sustained by the country’s leaders who rely on ethnocentric narratives fuelled by “memory politics,” they distort historical events for the benefit of their ethnic group. This paper relies on Positioning Theory to explore whether CrossFit Sarajevo, a grassroots initiative, created necessary conditions to challenge these ethnocentric narratives within the club. Relying on interviews with 13 of its members, the paper explores what impact positions, actions/acts, and storylines can have on the creation of a cohesive and respectful multiethnic community. According to its findings, this paper suggests that such organizations indeed have significant potential challenging divisive narratives. Embracing egalitarian and inclusive positions appears to have established a common code of conduct within the club’s members, contributing to the creation of a distinct sense of belonging and social trust. These have manifested in humanitarian projects undertaken by the club that seek to help some of the most disadvantaged in the broader community. Ultimately, this project highlights the important role grassroots organizations can play in postviolence settings and suggests further exploration into the influence and permeability of such initiatives in the broader society.

Being a part of it: People with intellectual disabilities as volunteers in the Youth Olympic Games

During the Youth Olympic Winter Games event in Lillehammer, Norway, a group of students with intellectual disabilities worked as volunteers. The teachers of the class functioned in a social entrepreneurial manner, using the event to create social value for this particular group. Qualitative interviews were conducted with the group of students (n=12), and observations were made during the event. The students’ teachers (n=3) and the head of volunteers (n=1) from the organizing committee were also interviewed for triangulation, thus verifying the interpretation of the data. This study demonstrated that social value was created through the practical tasks the students with intellectual disabilities were given, especially in relation to the Olympic context of the event, and the job itself was more important than those for whom they were doing it or why. Other important sources of social value were for the students to be outside of the classroom and to be cooperating and learning from each other within the group. Last, the students had the opportunity to aid and assist, instead of being aided and assisted, and to give something back to the local community.

Organizational capacity for domestic sport for development

The purpose of this study is to explore the organizational capacity for domestic sport for development (SFD). Semistructured interviews were conducted with a representative from 17 domestic SFD organizations operating in Canada (n=17). Within the dimensions of human resources capacity, financial capacity, relationship and network capacity, infrastructure and process capacity, and planning and development capacity, interviewees indicated several unique aspects of organizational capacity for domestic SFD and variation by organizational life cycle. Domestic SFD organizations in this study were focused on improving their local communities using a range of sports (n=10). They represent both urban and rural communities from across Canada and indicated achieving educational outcomes, increasing awareness for mental health services, developing leadership and other life skills, and improving new immigrant and refugee integration through sport plus and plus sport programs. Organizational capacity elements uncovered in this study include passion for helping others and for the sport itself, familiarity with development issues, grant funding success, sustainable funding, sustained partnerships, social capital, facilities, formalization, and strategic planning. Implications for domestic SFD organizations and their stakeholders and recommendations for further research are provided.

‘Sport for development’ in Japan

Although the field of Sport for Development (SfD) has been progressing in the international community for some time, the Japanese government only recently began looking for ways to contribute to the field during Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Promoting Tokyo’s bid, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced the ‘Sport for Tomorrow (SFT)’ programme to bring the joy of sports to at least 10 million children in 100 countries by 2020. However, the progress made as of 2016 indicates that reaching this target would be difficult at the current pace. Japan’s sluggish economic growth is creating various problems for the sports world in Japan, and the significance of aiding developing countries through sport has not been properly explained. Most Japanese people are unfamiliar with both SfD and SFT, although the scope and amount of SFT activities are expected to increase as the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games approach.

The social, cultural, and historical complexities that shape and constrain (gendered) space in an SDP organisation in Colombia

Recent research on the role of ‘safe space’ within Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) shows that the social inclusion of young women in traditionally male sporting spaces may shift who can comfortably access and shape public spaces. Framing safe space as a social construction and a dynamic process, and drawing from six months of ethnographic research conducted in two volatile neighbourhoods with a Colombian SDP organisation, this paper will explore the social, cultural and historical complexities that shape and constrain safe space. It will argue that while the SDP organisation’s ability to adapt to change and resign control makes it accessible to the local community, the positioning of both the organisation and participants simultaneously permits the continuation of gendered space. This data is then analysed through Spaaij and Schulenkorf’s multi-dimensional interpretation of safe space. In conclusion, further research about the physical and psycho-social barriers that constrain females from participating in SDP programming is suggested.

Yielding healthy community with sport?

Research has linked an enhanced sense of community to sport programme retention, while literature outside of sport suggest increased sense of community is linked to improved health. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to better understand the association between sport communities and health behaviours and health role modelling outcomes. Athletes and non-athletes were surveyed to better understand the unique contributions sport participation might have on health-related outcomes. Surveys included demographic information, the 21-item Sense of Community in Sport scale, and various health behaviours and outcomes. Surveys were completed by 458 athletes and 323 university social organisation members (i.e., fraternities and sororities) in the United States. The results provided limited support for the positive influence of sense of community on health-related outcomes and indicated that athletes reported higher levels of sense of community (M = 75.17, SD = 10.158) than university social organisations participants (M = 72.17, SD = 12.134). When controlling for sense of community, surveyed athletes were more likely to engage in healthier behaviours (i.e., binge drink less, consider themselves role models in terms of exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and use less tobacco). This work highlights the community characteristics found in sport settings that can contribute to positive health outcomes.

Sport for development for Aboriginal youth in Canada: A scoping review

Kevin Gardam1, Audrey R. Giles2, Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst3 1 Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Canada 2 School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada 3 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Canada Citation: Gardam, K., Giles, A., Hayhurst, M.C. Sport for development for Aboriginal youth in Canada: A scoping review. Journal of […]

Called to serve: Exploring servant leadership in the context of sport-for-development

Janelle E. Wells1, Jon Welty Peachey2 1 University of South Florida, Department of Marketing, Sport & Entertainment Management, USA 2 University of Illinois, Department of Recreation, Sport & Tourism, USA Citation: Wells, J.E., Welty Peachey, J. Called to serve: Exploring servant leadership in the context of sport-for-development. Journal of Sport for Development. 2016; 4(7): 12-24. […]

Challenges and strategies for success of a sport-for-development programme for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth

Tanya Halsall1, Tanya Forneris2 1 Department of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada 2 Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada Citation: Halsall, T., Forneris, T. Challenges and strategies for success of a sport-for-development programme for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth. Journal of Sport for Development. 2016; 4(7): 39-57. Download article as […]

Exploring stakeholders’ experiences of implementing an ice hockey programme for Inuit youth

Corliss Bean1, Tanya Forneris1 1 University of Ottawa, Department of Human Kinetics, Canada Citation: Bean, C., Forneris, T. Exploring stakeholders’ experiences of implementing an ice hockey programme for Inuit youth. Journal of Sport for Development. 2016; 4(6): 7-20. Download article as PDF Abstract The Nunavik Youth Hockey Development Program (NYHDP) is a sport-for-development programme designed […]

Soccer for Peace in Jordan: A qualitative assessment of program impact on coaches

Jacob W. Cooper1, Lindsey C. Blom2, Lawrence H. Gerstein3, Dorice A. Hankemeier4, Tacianna P. Indovina3 1 Ball State University, School of Physical Education, Sport, Exercise Science & Boston University, USA 2 Ball State University, School of Physical Education, Sport, Exercise Science, Sport & Exercise Psychology, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, USA 3 Ball State […]

Reflections from scholars on barriers and strategies in sport-for-development research

Jon Welty Peachey1, Adam Cohen1,2 1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA 2 Texas Tech University, USA Citation: Peachey, J.W., Cohen, A. Reflections from scholars on barriers and strategies in sport-for-development research. 2015; 3(4): 16-27. Download article as PDF Abstract Although there is a plethora of literature calling for changes and improvements to the methodology […]

Soccer for Peace: Evaluation of In-Country Workshops with Jordanian Coaches

Lindsey C. Blom1, Lawrence Gerstein2, Kelley Stedman3, Lawrence Judge4, Alisha Sink4, David Pierce5 1 Ball State University, School of PE, Sport, & Exercise Science, The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, USA 2 Ball State University, Department of Counseling Psychology, The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, USA 3 Ball State University, Social Science Research […]