Sport is one of the things that binds the people of the Commonwealth together and it is often seen as a tremendous source of pride.
While sport is enjoyable for recreation, it is also increasingly being used as a tool in sustainable development work and to enable positive societal change.
The Commonwealth Secretariat, in partnership with the International Platform on Sport and Development and the Australian Government, have collaborated on an online course, available free of cost, to support this growing movement.
Sport for sustainable development
The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing effective policies and programmes, was originally delivered only in English and is now available in French, Spanish and Arabic
During the online course, participants will learn:
- the benefits and limitations of using sport in development;
- how to design, implement, and measure the impact of sport-based policies and programmes using best practices;
- key concepts on sport and gender equality, disability, human rights, social inclusion, peacebuilding, good governance and safeguarding
Over 6,500 people from over 189 countries have already benefitted from the course. Those who have already enrolled in the course have reported that it has many practical elements and is immediately impactful.
While many Commonwealth countries communicate principally in English, some of the Commonwealth’s 56 member countries have people who are more comfortable learning in other languages including French.
New languages available
Commenting on the launch of the French version of the MOOC, the Director of the Mauritius Sports Council, Dr Baptiste Henry Bernard said:
“We believe that sport is an exceptional tool that has major social and economic benefits. We are bilingual in Mauritius and so to have the French version of the course will make it accessible to every level of our community.”
Dr Lin Sambili-Gicheha, Project Manager for Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, contributed to the content of the course and spoke about why additional languages were important and how sport, when used for development, can be beneficial.
“At the Commonwealth Secretariat, we champion inclusivity because it is at the heart of the charter that drives our very existence. Many of our Commonwealth countries face significant global challenges, but we also have many tools that can improve people’s lives, strengthen communities, and improve the economic outlook. Sport is one of those tools that can be used to effect transformative change.”
“With the addition of new languages, it is hoped that more stakeholders can benefit from this free training, which then can be used to work towards meaningful change throughout our member countries.”
The eight-week online course is on the FutureLearn platform and can equip NGOs, policymakers and sports professionals with principles, tools and techniques in sport for development.
One person who completed the Sport for Sustainable Development course said:
"The course has proven to be highly beneficial to me. The content contained the basic learning required for me to have a proper understanding of the field, but most helpful were the contributions from real-life practitioners in the field."
"The honest portrayal of the challenges and the demonstration of the successes recorded was also helpful. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the field of human development in general and sport for development in particular.”
Using sport as a tool, projects and policies can be developed to contribute to building sustainable peace, resilient communities and safe spaces for young people and communities. Launched in July 2020, the course prioritises imparting information in a meaningful and engaging way.
Ijeoma Onyeator Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat