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This content is taken from the The International Platform on Sport and Development, Commonwealth Secretariat & Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)'s online course, Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes. Join the course to learn more.
group of female football players, and soldiers group around a trophy in South Sudan
UNMISS Ending Sexual and Gender-based violence football 6-day tournament between United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) staff and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) teams.

Is sport making a difference?

Words alone aren’t enough. We have to prove that our ideas do work by backing them up with data. Facts and figures that prove success or at least demonstrate some form of progress.

We will cover the idea of indicators in more detail next week (3.4) but to start you thinking about how to measure change, first reflect on the questions below and how you might answer them:

  • Can sport and development have a social impact?
  • Can sport and development have an economic impact?
  • Can sport and development have an environmental impact?

Keep those ideas in mind whilst you read the following short report on implications and recommendations for using sport and development in different application settings:

Sport and Development research example: Road to Evidence (Laureus and Commonwealth Secretariat) download PDF

In recent years, a number of organisations – from funders and delivery organisations to academic institutions and intergovernmental bodies – have invested time and resource to assess the impact of this approach as compared to other methodologies. Seeking to better understand the evidence base created by this, we worked with leading researchers to compare the impact of SD and nonsport youth development interventions on four specific social concerns: community cohesion; education; employment; health and wellbeing.

We chose a group of six cities – London, Nairobi, New Orleans, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Mumbai – split across the continents and across developed and developing economies, in which we knew (a) that large numbers of SD organisations were operating with a focus on those social concerns, and (b) that research had been conducted, and we worked to examine the state of the evidence and the methodologies used to capture it.


After reading the report, do you think sport and development makes a positive, negative or neutral impact on the hypothesis of sport impact?

Share your thoughts in a comment post.

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This article is from the free online course:

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

The International Platform on Sport and Development