The 6th April marks the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, which, according to the UN, “presents an opportunity to recognise the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe”. The theme for 2022 is, “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport”, which creates the opportunity to celebrate those organisations using sport as a tool to advance human rights and sustainable development.
To mark the occasion, we’ve compiled a list of ten truly incredible organisations who we believe embody this theme. Whether through conflict resolution or climate action, sport for development organisations are leading the way in the fight against the greatest global issues.
A few notable examples...
League of Tolerance (LOFT)
League of Tolerance have been operating or several years, using sport as a tool to unite through diversity in Ukraine, with a special focus on young people in Ivano-Frankivsk.
Since the outbreak of war, LOFT is supporting families with transportation, essential supplies and physical support during border crossings and to enter special trains carrying refugees from Lviv to Przemysl in Poland. So far, they have helped over 500 people get to the West of Ukraine to a safer environment and aim to reach many more.
Foundation for Freedom
Foundation for Freedom has worked to improve inclusion for asylum seekers through sport and cultural integration projects in Warsaw since 2005. They are currently working alongside the Polish authorities to assist those fleeing the conflict.
They are meeting asylum seekers in train stations to offer medical care, legal assistance and shelter, while continuing and expanding their long-term projects to serve the refugee population in Warsaw.
Discover more about LOFT and Foundation for Freedom here.
Laureus Sport for Good
Back in March, Laureus announced that it had set up its ‘Laureus Sport for Peace Humanitarian Action Fund’ to help alleviate the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. Donations from corporate partners, athletes and sporting bodies will be channelled to Laureus’ partner organisations, and support agencies working on the ground to provide food, water, medicine, hygiene kits, shelter and safe spaces to those fleeing conflict.
You can find out more and donate here.
The International Table Tennis Foundation (ITTF)
Ping-Pong Diplomacy: using ping-pong to promote mutual respect, open dialogues, and positive engagement, has been integral to the ITTF for over 50 years. They have been supporting conflict resolution in Ukraine by offering shelter and supplies to Ukrainian refugees in their headquarters in Leipzig, Germany.
They are offering further support through their Emergency Relief Fund, the Ukrainian Table Tennis Federation and ITTF Member Association.
Find out more here.
Sport for One Humanity
Established by Turkish Airlines, the Sport for One Humanity initiative aims to select and support innovate sports-based projects that promote a culture of peace, mutual understanding and cooperating among diverse communities and cultures around the world.
They will give priority to those projects that promote sport as a tool for strengthening diversity and inclusiveness, education and empowerment of youth, empowerment of women and girls, inclusion of people with disabilities and vulnerable groups and fostering peaceful and inclusive societies.
Find out more and apply for funding here.
Commonwealth Sport Foundation
The Commonwealth Sport Foundation was founded as the charitable foundation of the Commonwealth Sport Movement, with the objective of helping to address some of the world’s greatest challenges.
There are five developmental priorities: Youth Empowerment, Equal Rights, Historical Injustice, Small States and Island States, and Sustainable Cities and Communities. Work has started on a £3.5m development fund through the 2022 Commonwealth Games Host City Contract, to ensure the vision, legacy and benefits of Birmingham 2022 are brought to life across the Commonwealth through sport.
Read more here.
PeacePlayers offers basketball programming, peace education, and leadership development to transform the lives of youth living in communities affected by conflict and inequality.
Their team in the Middle East uses basketball to bridge divides, change perceptions and develop leaders among Palestinian and Israeli youth in Israel and the West Bank. They engage over 500 Palestinian and Israeli young people every year in year-round basketball training, conflict resolution education and leadership development activities.
Their impact reports show that 82% of participants are more positive about the outgroup following participation, and 96% of participants have developed cross-community friendships.
Discover more here.
Football For Future (FFF)
Football For Future is a new charity that aims to build a more environmentally sustainable culture in football. Their objective is to raise awareness of the relationship between football and climate change, and support the football industry to become more sustainable.
They have 4 core focus areas: Sustainability Support; working with football clubs and industry organisations to help them become more sustainable, Educational Outreach; running workshops that educate football’s next generation about climate change, Reporting and Research; exploring and amplifying examples of sustainability in global football, and Player Champions; supporting professional players to become champions of sustainability and raise awareness among fans.
Find out more here.
Planet Earth Games
Planet Earth Games offers opportunities to engage with nature and the outdoors and learn more about sustainable living, all while participating in physical activity.
Participants can take part in different challenges throughout the year, with each month having its own unique environmental theme. Their impact reports show that 84% of participants learn something new about sustainability and 61% are more active than they would usually be.
Learn more here.
I Am Water Foundation
The I Am Water Foundation promotes ocean conservation through transformative experiences for young people in underserved communities in South Africa. Since 2010, they have been providing opportunities for engagement and education, so that young people might better understand the ocean and advocate for its protection.
I Am Water aims to facilitate physical and emotional connections to the ocean and build better understanding of the interdependence of healthy humans and healthy oceans through exploratory workshops and coaching.
Find out more here.
This list is just a few of the countless fantastic organisations operating to advance human rights and promote sustainable development through sport. It really is a privilege to work alongside so many incredible organisations in this sector, and today is a great opportunity to recognise and appreciate every sport for development organisation working tirelessly towards a more positive, sustainable future. Thank you for everything you do.
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