Youth and sport

© GIZ

Young people need perspectives for the future. Youth work and extracurricular educational activities – combined with sport, for example – help them to assume responsibility for themselves and for society.

Children and young adults up to the age of 25 are an important target group for development cooperation. In many partner countries of German international cooperation, they account for up to 70 per cent of the total population.

However, young people often do not have a say in political decisions and do not participate in society and economic life. Poverty and violence are everyday problems for many children and adolescents. Frustration and a lack of prospects cause them to withdraw into themselves or turn to violence. Often they are then viewed as a ‘problem’ for society.

Above all, however, young people offer enormous potential for their countries’ development. GIZ is committed to strengthening this potential. It offers its partner countries advice on youth policies, supports the training of youth social workers, and develops educational and employment opportunities together with partner countries. It works to eliminate child trafficking and violence, and encourages young people to participate in political life.

When used in a pedagogically valuable manner, sport is an ideal vehicle for communicating key concepts such as motivation, fairness and a sense of responsibility to young people. Sport can help young people to acquire skills that can be subsequently used in their working lives, for example. The United Nations (UN) recognises sport as a ‘means to promote education, health, development and peace’. Sport unites people all over the world, regardless of age, origin or culture. German development cooperation also subscribes to the ‘Sport for Development’ approach and supports measures to train coaches. These coaches act as role models, boost youngsters’ self-esteem, and help them to develop prospects for the future. During training, they also address development issues, including health-related topics such as HIV prevention and alcohol abuse.