Sport is a language that is spoken and understood all around the world. On the field of play, age, background and religion make no difference, which is why the United Nations has officially recognised sport, ‘as a means to promote education, health, development and peace’. German development cooperation, too, uses sport to support disadvantaged children and young people and teach them knowledge and social skills. Through sport they learn to accept responsibility, act fairly and resolve conflict peacefully.
Many sports, particularly football, do not require expensive equipment and are extremely popular among children and young people. In light of this, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been supporting sports such as athletics, basketball, football and handball across a number of countries since 2013. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), sport is also used to raise awareness of topics such as vocational education, displacement and HIV prevention, as well as to strengthen the children’s character and present them with prospects for the future. In particular, the programme aims to support girls and young women. So far, the programme has reached more than 200,000 children and young people in 16 countries across the world.
Sport inspires people all over the world. In countries such as Afghanistan, Brazil, Namibia, and the Palestinian territories, sport is used to support and teach knowledge to children and young people. Sport gives them a new attitude to life, builds self-confidence and opens up prospects for the future.
In Brazil, for example, GIZ developed the educational training manual ‘Treino Social’ in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation ‘Bola Pra Frente’. The manual demonstrates how children and young people can have fun doing sport while developing social skills and acquiring knowledge on topics such as health, violence prevention, environment and gender equality.
In addition, in cooperation with the German Football Association (DFB) and Brazilian partner organisations, there are now around 500 women and men from non-governmental organisations, schools, clubs and football academies who have been trained as multipliers in social training.
In the Palestinian territories, sport is used to make vocational training more attractive and improve opportunities for young people in the employment market. At sports events and sport and vocational training camps where employers are on hand, young people can, for example, try out technical work and find out about different job and training opportunities in one-to-one discussions at information stands.
In Namibia, a centre for girls was built at the Namibian Football Association’s site in Windhoek. Here, girls and young women can do sport in a safe environment. Furthermore, there are initial and further training opportunities in the sustainable tourism and catering industries, which help to improve the girls’ job prospects.
In Jordan and Iraq, children and young people from refugee camps and host communities can come together to do sport and get to know one another. In addition to sports skills, respect, tolerance, discipline, empathy, fair play and self-confidence are also promoted, as they are in the other projects. Sport is a welcome change from often-dreary everyday lives in refugee camps, and not only does it serve to prevent conflict, it provides hope for a peaceful future.
In December 2017, GIZ and its partners in Jordan and Iraq, including the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and the Jordanian Football Association, received the ‘Peace and Sport Award’ in honour of their initiatives and work in the field of peacebuilding through sport.