Skip main navigation

Hurry, only 3 days left to get one year of Unlimited learning for £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Measuring the Contribution of Sport

Explore the model indicators used to measure the impact of sport and physical activity on society.

Sport can bring huge value to communities. As seen in the video above, Jamaica has identified sport as contributing to health, education, youth development, and social cohesion.

These benefits are undoubtedly positive but how can they be measured?

Toolkit and Model Indicators

A toolkit, including a set of model indicators, has been developed to outline a common approach to measuring and evaluating sport’s contribution to the SDGs and other development priorities. This has been developed through a global multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to deliver on Action 2 of the Kazan Action Plan.

Toolkit (version 4.0): Measuring the contribution of sport, physical education, and physical activity to the Sustainable Development Goals

The toolkit proposes a results-based management approach for sport, physical activity, and physical education. This involves the development of a theory of change, identifying objectives and anticipated outcomes, and developing indicators to monitor the changes in and through sport.

The model indicators can be used to measure and evaluate changes from policies and programmes as they relate to specific SDG targets. This common approach also creates a common language across sport and when communicating with other sectors.

The SDGs are a common and globally recognised system to evaluate impact. Adoption of the Sport and SDG indicators will allow for comparison, shared learning, and collaboration across countries, policies, and programmes in order to maximise the contribution of sport, physical education, and physical activity locally, nationally, and globally.

Model indicators

The toolkit offers three levels of indicators:

  • Category 1 indicators are universal and designed to be measured at scale. These are relevant for global actors, policymakers, and national governments, though local actors and civil society organisations can also align and input into these indicators.
  • Category 2 indicators are more sector-specific, relevant to each of the 10 SDGs identified in the Kazan Action Plan. For example, there are specific indicators on how to measure the contribution of sport, PE, and physical activity to SDG 3: Good health and well-being. Actors that work on these thematic areas may find them relevant to their work.
  • Community-level indicators (indicators 24 to 26, category 1) provide a means to capture the impact of programmes that contribute to the SDGs. Many actors deliver interventions in specific local contexts. This work can make crucial contributions, but the measurement is often limited to the meso (community) and micro (individual) levels. Given this, the report provides a methodology to link different programmes and outputs that target similar issues, measuring their total effect. For example, organisations using sport for health may have similar outputs and outcomes, which may be aggregated (if possible) and/or synthesised to provide an overview of the total change their programmes create.

Benefits of Adoption

The set of model indicators and the results-based management approach may provide the following benefits:

  • Reducing the monitoring burden for stakeholders by aligning results frameworks and key indicators with national, regional, and international monitoring and reporting mechanisms;
  • Providing access to existing global data sets for baseline data, and use of existing data collection tools;
  • Increasing access to capacity building, support, and collaboration platforms on monitoring and evaluating the contribution of sport to the SDGs being developed under the auspices of KAP Action 2;
  • Evidencing coherence with global policy frameworks and action plans including the Kazan Action Plan; the UN Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace, the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, UNESCO Quality Physical Education initiative, and other international indicator sets and frameworks; and
  • Providing a platform to be positioned as leaders in the field of delivering sustainable development outcomes from sport, physical education, and physical activity.

More information on measuring the contribution of sport to the SDGs


Take some time to familiarise yourself with the model indicators.

Think about the SDG you selected in the previous step. Find that specific SDG in the category 2 indicators section. (How) Could you incorporate the indicators into your programme plan? When and where would you need to collect the data?

Next, reflect on your programmatic impact on pages 45-46. What is the depth of impact (connect, improve, transform) and type of impact (behaviour or attitude change; skills or personal effectiveness; quality of life or well-being) you are hoping to influence with your initiative?

This article is from the free online

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now