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Commonwealth and partners launch first online course for using sport for sustainable development

21 July 2020

A new free online course will help people and organisations harness the potential of sport in their work towards achieving sustainable development.

Online sport for development course

The Commonwealth Secretariat has worked with the Government of Australia and the International Platform on Sport and Development to develop the online course.

Although sport has been recognised as an enabler of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), people and organisations have had limited opportunities to learn how to maximise its positive impact on areas such as:

  • health
  • education
  • gender equality
  • employment
  • peacebuilding

To address this gap, ‘Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes’ is the first such course made available to the public online and free-of-charge. It is designed to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners, including:

  • government officials
  • policymakers
  • development practitioners
  • representatives from the private and civil society sectors

Longstanding Secretariat support to member countries

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: "The longstanding work and engagement of the Commonwealth Secretariat in support of collaboration among our member countries to develop policies and programmes on sport and development have yielded valuable perspectives and practical understanding of how life opportunities for people from all backgrounds can be improved through well-designed and adaptable strategies.

"Our focus is on extending the benefits of sport to more people, from more diverse backgrounds, more often.

“This course offers leaders, practitioners and young people alike superb professional development opportunities to build their skills and develop highly effective policies and programmes which enable the potential of sport as a force for good to be realised fully and inclusively in the countries of the Commonwealth – and more widely."

Positive power of sport

Featuring insights from across the world, learners will explore ways to design, implement and evaluate effective policies and programmes. The course also allows them to study key concepts on sport’s role in addressing:

  • gender inequality
  • overcoming disability
  • upholding human rights
  • promoting social inclusion
  • peacebuilding

Recognising the important role that sport can play in promoting learning and meaningful engagement at national, regional and international levels, Fiji’s Robin Mitchell, President of the Oceania National Olympic Committee, said the course will be a vital addition to the field.

He added: “This course provides an exciting opportunity for all those in the Pacific and around the world interested in learning how to take action and use sport to make a positive impact. 

“In the Pacific sport is being used by governments, organisations and communities as an enabler of change. Today, more than ever, sport is becoming an important tool to support the communication of information and to teach children, young people and adults. 

“By harnessing the positive power of sport, we have an opportunity to shape the development of ideas, opinions and actions – both at home and abroad. I would encourage anyone interested in learning how they can use sport as a tool to support the advancement of the sustainable development agenda to sign up for this course.”

Taught through international experiences and best practices 

The course offers lessons learnt, best practices and tips from policymakers and practitioners across the world, helping learners to analyse different approaches to sport for development programmes.

Gunnar Hagstrom, a member of the International Platform on Sport and Development’s Steering Board, said: "Recognising the need to increase access to resources and educational opportunities for a wide and varied audience, this course focuses on helping learners to understand how to effectively integrate sport into policies and programmes to advance the SDGs.

"In an era where the face-to-face delivery of sport has been disrupted and threatened, this course helps audiences to think critically and understand how to leverage sport, drive innovation and challenge the status quo."

Discover how sport can contribute to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals but signing up for the online course

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