The Commonwealth Secretariat and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation are to launch a collaborative research report entitled ‘Sport for Development: The Road to Evidence’.
The launch will be conducted on Wednesday, September 26 by the international Platform on Sport and Development (@sportanddev) on Twitter.
About the Research
In recent years, a number of organisations – from funders and delivery organisations, to academic institutions and intergovernmental bodies – have invested time and resources into assessing the impact of the Sport for Development (SfD) approach. In order to better understand the evidence generated due to this phenomenon, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation commissioned a piece of research to examine and compare the reported evidence base of youth-focused SfD interventions and non-sport youth development interventions in six geographical locations, representing a broad array of cultural, social and political, developmental and historical landscapes: Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Nairobi and New Orleans.
Through a systematic review and comparative analysis, the quality of SfD evidence in these six geographic locations was assessed, with a particular focus on four thematic areas: community cohesion; education; employment; and health and wellbeing. This allowed for an informed assessment of whether and how SfD interventions contribute to broader community, societal and structural change, as well as an analysis of the gaps that exist in the SfD evidence base.
Key findings and recommendations
The research found that an SfD approach is often inseparable from ‘generalised’ youth development, and that discussing SfD as a wholly separate approach to youth development is an unnecessary separation. The research suggests that working towards initiatives with broader youth development and social policy interventions is a more effective approach, and that the effect of SfD is enhanced through initiatives that are designed to contribute to policy change, build institutional capacity, and actively engage community leaders.
The research makes clear recommendations to multiple stakeholders (practitioners, researchers, funders and policy makers) on how to work together towards strengthening the SfD evidence base. Specifically, the report endorses:
- The need for greater open and honest communication of research and evaluation methods and results
- The need for the use of validated measures and assessments of actual behaviour methods and results
- The importance of contextualising research within the social and political climate
- The importance of supporting organisations for longer funding cycles
- The need for considering the scale (micro vs. macro, local vs. global) at which SfD is implemented and measured.
Look out for the launch on the @sportanddev Twitter account on September 26, and join the conversation by using the hashtags #SportForDevelopment #RoadToEvidence