German activities

Sport as a cross-cutting theme in development

A schoolboy taking part in an athletics event

For more than thirty years now, Germany has been sponsoring sports projects as part of its de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion activities – the aim being to get people active, raise awareness and foster social and economic integration.

In Germany's de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion, "sport for de­vel­op­ment" is an cross-cutting theme with numerous links to many of the German government's various de­vel­op­ment goals.

Frauen in Guinea spielen Fußball. Urheberrecht: Nancy Palus/IRINBesides being par­tic­u­lar­ly useful in projects in the education sector, "sport for de­vel­op­ment" can also be combined with projects concerned with health, preventing violence, gender equality, good governance, social inclusion and the en­vi­ron­ment.

That is why, in its "sport for de­vel­op­ment" activities, Germany not  only provides policy advice but also aims to support tighter networking and coordination between the German actors working in this field. A further focus is on the planning and implementation of sports-related pilot measures.

The main target group of these activities is children and young people. And special attention is paid to the needs of girls and young women, who are often disadvantaged. A further aim of projects in this field is the inclusion of persons with disabilities in and through sport.

Networking and coordination among the actors involved

Sport is more than just a significant economic factor in Germany – Germany's sportswomen and sportsmen, as well as their various organisations and associations, are an im­por­tant pillar of civil society. Through the medium of sport, Germany can attract new partners, and gather new ideas, for its de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion work.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, BMZ, already works with gov­ern­ment bodies and non-governmental organisations in this field. It also works with private-sector companies which use sport to help young people in their personal growth and career de­vel­op­ment. The BMZ is supporting tighter networking among these actors so that even better use can be made of their experience and know-how. The Ministry also intends to cooperate more closely in future with in­ter­national organisations and networks, as well as with national institutions in its partner coun­tries.

The BMZ's key partners in these projects are, amongst others, the German Football Association (DFB); the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB); and the United Nations Office on Sport for De­vel­op­ment and Peace (UNOSDP).

Pilot measures

Young people playing basketball on a high-rise housing estate in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Whenever Germany plans pilot measures in the field of sports as part of its de­vel­op­ment work, the focus is always on what social impact these measures will have. The BMZ therefore seeks to pursue a multidimensional approach combining sport with other areas of de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion, such as education, peace-building or HIV prevention.

For instance, Germany is supporting efforts in its partner coun­tries to promote out-of-school sports while, at the same time, trying to get sport and physical education to be given more room in school curricula – for example in Afghanistan. By training young men and women as sports instructors and coaches, Germany is helping to link sport with vocational education and job creation.

For example:
The project "Youth De­vel­op­ment through Football (YDF)" is helping to show young people in Africa who have few prospects or opportunities a new way of life. Through football they can experience social interaction and learn how to resolve conflicts without using violence. GIZ launched the project on behalf of the BMZ in 2007, in the run-up to the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Besides South Africa, nine other African coun­tries have been taking part in the project, including Mozambique. In Mozambique, for example, male and female football coaches have been shown how to include lessons on 'life skills' in their training sessions and in tournaments.

In Namibia, sport is one of the few spheres of life in which girls and young women have the freedom to realise their potential. That is why the Namibian Football Association (NFA) and actors from Germany, too, are making use of the opportunities offered by sport to achieve a variety of de­vel­op­ment goals. For instance, they are building a com­mu­ni­ty centre in the grounds of the NFA, where girls can meet and take part in education programmes.

Co­op­er­a­tion with the research com­mu­ni­ty

Germany works with scientific research institutions in its de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion so that it is able to evaluate experience gained so far in the field of "sport for de­vel­op­ment" and make use of that experience in other projects. These research institutions are involved in every step of the process – from advisory services to monitoring and evaluation. The aim is to use the results of their work to help enhance the quality and effectiveness of German de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion in the field of "sport for de­vel­op­ment". To this end, Germany's official de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion institutions are working with, for example, the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (German Sport University Cologne, DSHS) and the In­ter­national Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE).

Co­op­er­a­tion with the private sector

One key objective of the BMZ is to continue to attract private-sector support for activities in the field of "sport for de­vel­op­ment" in the future, and to foster interests shared by the BMZ and the private sector.

One example of efforts in this respect is a strategic alliance – financial support for which is being provided through the programme – entered into with a manufacturer of sports gear and equipment. The aim of the alliance is to use sport as a way of supporting disadvantaged children in selected primary schools in Brazil and South Africa. The new alliance is also helping to promote exercise in general, thereby helping to reduce the level of future health care spending.

BMZ glossary

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