Sport moves the world

11.08.2016 – Sport for Development: sport not only provides physical exercise, it also helps drive sustainable changes – around the world.

Football, basketball, volleyball or athletics – sport inspires people, and not just during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, actually playing sport, and in particular gaining access to educational and health services provided through sport, is not something equally available everywhere around the world. But such activities are important, especially for children and young people. Some countries, however, may lack training facilities, equipment or even qualified trainers, and not all schools and municipalities can offer structured sports lessons and activities.

This is where international cooperation comes in. Everyone understands the language of sport, and sport can reach and support a broad range of population groups. Implemented correctly, sport can help drive change and sustainable development globally, thereby helping to fulfil international development goals.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is taking advantage of this valuable instrument and has commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to implement Sport for Development projects around the world. GIZ is working with numerous local and international partners. For example, the 'treino social' approach in Brazil uses sporting activities as a fun way to impart social skills in areas such education, violence prevention and gender equality. Sport for Development also overlaps with other areas such as health promotion, HIV/AIDS prevention, vocational education, inclusion, integration of refugees and the provision of sporting activities in host communities. In the Palestinian territories, sport is being used to promote vocational education for young people through special summer camps. This project is working with vocational schools and potential employers.

In Kenya, local partner organisations are also supporting GIZ, in particular with training multipliers. Educational activities outside the classroom are in great demand here. And investments in infrastructure are also being made: 'Currently, 46 sports facilities are under construction or in planning in nine countries in Africa, and a further 24 have already been completed', says Heidi Beha, former women’s footballer and current GIZ employee, in an interview on

The longer term outlook is an important component of the projects. Beha explains: 'We provide advanced training for teachers and coaches of both genders who are already working with young people in sport, and we support partner organisations. This ensures that Sport for Development becomes integrated in the long term.'