Action on the ground

Sport’s value as an instrument for development and peace is not measured by resolutions, appointments and meetings, but by what happens in the real world. There are many initiatives out there, and here is just a small “taster” of some of the projects that involve Olympic Movement stakeholders:

The IOC’s Sports for Hope Programme – setting up Olympic Youth Development Centres (OYDCs)
By setting up OYDCs in developing countries, the IOC aims to provide young people and communities with positive sports and lifestyle opportunities, offer modern and professional training facilities to the athletes of the entire region, and spread the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. The first multi-sport centre of this kind opened in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2010 and welcomes on average 10,000 youngsters on a regular basis. A second centre is currently being constructed in Haiti, and will be inaugurated later this year.

Learn more about the Sports for Hope programme here

Watch a clip here how athletes and kids enjoy playing sports at the Zambia centre

IOC Sports Kit – teaming up with the WFP and UNHCR for wide distribution

The IOC has developed a sports kit which contains basic sports and recreational material for about 300 kids, such as various balls, bibs, caps, shirts and chalk to mark the field. This equipment is sufficient to set up organised sports activities in very diverse settings such as in schools as well as in camps and settlements. Since their creation in 2009, the kits have been welcomed by over 650,000 children and young people in schools supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) as direct beneficiaries, and around one million people if one also considers the community around them. Countries where the programme has been successfully implemented with the WFP include Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti and Kenya. In addition, the IOC, Worldwide Olympic Partner Samsung and UNHCR have joined forces to distribute the kits to more than 180,000 young people living in camps for refugees and internally displaced in 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Watch a clip here on how sport brightens the day for kids in Haiti

Learn more about how the IOC sports kits benefit people in refugee camps

Read how the programme was implemented in Cambodia and in Afghanistan here

Giving is Winning – an IOC-UNHCR campaign at the Summer Olympic Games

Since 2004, the IOC and UNHCR have organised a “Giving is Winning” programme in the run-up to and during the Summer Olympic Games. The IOC, National Olympic Committees, Sports Federations, sponsors, athletes, members and other supporters of the Olympic Movement have joined this world-wide solidarity campaign and donated large quantities of sports and casual clothing which are then distributed to people in need in refugee camps. Since its inception, the campaign has collected over 170,000 items of clothing, or close to 36 containers, which have reached refugees in 23 countries.

Learn more about Giving is Winning here

Preventing youth violence in Colombia – a joint project of the IOC and War Child

The IOC has teamed up with NGO War Child for a two-year project, reaching out to more than 11,000 children and young people in 39 schools in the indigenous and Afro-Colombian  communities in the rural zones of Corinto, Northern Colombia. Multi-sport activities are being used, along with a methodology that combines the development of life skills with the promotion of peaceful coexistence, to enhance social cohesion and to prevent violence among children and the community. Specifically trained community sports leaders are in charge of implementing the programme. Tournaments and sports festivals will also be organised.

IOC-UNHCR Sport and Education programme in Namibian refugee settlement

From 2010 to 2013, the IOC, together with UNHCR, implemented a Sport and Education programme for young people in the Osire refugee settlement in Namibia which hosts some 8,500 refugees, 40 per cent of whom are between the ages of 10 and 30. The programme was designed to get this group more involved in organised sport in an effort to alleviate some of the major problems affecting young people and especially women in Osire, namely teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, and substance abuse. By linking the sporting activity to educational programmes on topics such as sexual and reproductive health and computer classes, the IOC and UNHCR were looking to provide the young people with meaningful recreational activities and the necessary tools to make informed decisions in life.

Watch a clip about the programme launch with IOC member and Olympian Frank Fredericks here

Learn more about the programme here

Facilitating youth refugee integration in Costa Rica – a joint project by the IOC, UNHCR and local stakeholders

In Costa Rica, a project entitled “Promoting inclusive education and local integration of young urban refugees through sporting, recreational, and awareness-raising activities”, has been implemented with the support of the IOC and the UNHCR Costa Rica office, and in close collaboration with the Costa Rican NOC, and the “Red de Jóvenes sin Fronteras” (Youth Without Borders) youth network composed of national, migrant and refugee young people.  The project included a sports camp in 2011, which brought together young boys and girls, young refugees and migrants, as well as young local members of the “Youth Without Borders” network. In addition, an awareness-raising and sports festival entitled “Citizens of the World” was held. Almost 2,000 people participated in different types of activities.

Learn more about the project here

Social and physical rehabilitation in Afghanistan and Cambodia driven by the ICRC and the IOC

In partnership with the IOC, the ICRC has integrated sport into its physical rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan, which is targeted at paraplegics who have become victims of land mines and explosive remnants, polio or other events. Sport, and in particular tennis, basketball, table tennis and archery, have a positive impact on the physical and mental rehabilitation process of paraplegics, as it can help to re-build self-esteem and promotes re-integration into society. Sports events are also used to raise awareness of preventive measures, treatment and the rights of people with disabilities. Moreover, local physiotherapists have been trained to integrate adapted sport into their rehabilitation programmes.

A similar initiative is being implemented in Cambodia, a country heavily affected by land mines and, therefore, with a high number of people suffering amputations. The Cambodian project focuses on the expansion of female basketball wheelchair teams composed of patients from an ICRC rehabilitation centre, while fostering social integration for women with disabilities. It also aims to identify future vocational training and employment opportunities for these women. The ICRC is working with the newly-created Cambodian National Basketball Federation and the National Paralympic Committee to coordinate its project and helping to develop a national team.

Sport for Peace competitions in El Salvador and Liberia – IOC, UNDP and UN peacekeeping missions  

In El Salvador, the IOC has teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Public Security and Justice to implement the “Sport for Peace and Development” project, which integrates sport into a national programme against poverty and violence. The project is conducted in some of the most violent municipalities in the country, and includes the rehabilitation or construction of playgrounds as well as the organisation of special sporting activities. During the activities, young people are educated about values such as solidarity, respect for themselves and others, co-existence and understanding to fight against the roots of the high levels of crime in the country.

Similarly, the IOC and several UN Peacekeeping missions have joined efforts in trying to use sport as a tool to build bridges in conflict countries, such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. For instance, in Liberia in 2007, together with the government and several NGOs, a five-week nationwide Sport for Peace programme was organised with the aim of using sport as a vehicle to bring people from various counties together and to foster peace.

More information on what is going on in the world of sport and development can be found at