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Sports Adaptations During COVID-19

Discover how policies and programmes using sport for development need to adapt and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
© Childfund

Policies and programmes using sport for development need to adapt and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing problems and inequalities in society, including within sport and development. It has caused great disruption and posed many challenges to sport and development actors, with restrictions and reduced resources having a severe impact. A recent report showed that 20% of organisations are fearing for their future due to these challenges.

Despite this, many organisations have persevered and pivoted, adapting their work to respond to the pandemic. Many have continued to engage participants remotely (e.g. via social media) while others have formed part of the frontline response by distributing supplies and information.

The fact that many organisations in sport and development are embedded within local communities is a key strength that has allowed them to form part of the relief, response, and recovery efforts.


A number of tools, resources, and guidance exist to support organisations during this time. These include the following:

COVID-19 on Sports and Development

This website section includes news and resources related to the sector’s response to COVID-19, as well as global guidance from WHO and other actors. This includes:

  • Programme resources, guidelines, and recommendations
  • Policy resources, guidelines, and recommendations
  • Support and assistance packages
  • Examples of adaptation and innovation
  • Prevention and containment measures
  • Guidance on return to activity

CommonWealth Guidance

The Commonwealth has provided extensive guidance, including:

a) Policies and guidelines related to sport and COVID-19

b) Commonwealth Moves initiative – research and resources on sustaining the impact of the sector, including programme tools adapted and available for remote delivery. This includes various resources as below:

  • Mental Health Through Sport and Physical Activity (in partnership with Coaches Across Continents)
  • SAGI: Gender Equality Through Sport (in partnership with Pro Sport Development and Martha Farrell Foundation, India)
  • Move4Life: Life Skills Through Sport and Physical Activity (in partnership with Dynamic Development Solutions, South Africa and Namibia)
  • Elderly Fitness (in partnership with Active Mauritius)
  • Staying Physically Active through the Life Cycle (in partnership with Sport for Life)

These examples illustrate the resilience and flexibility of the sector during these challenging times.

How has your work been affected by COVID-19? How have you responded and adapted?

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Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

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