The International Olympic Committee (IOC), through its Sport and Active Society (SAS) Commission Development Grants 2020, will provide extra resources to four grassroots organisations using sport and physical activity as a means to tackle social issues around the world.
This time, the SAS Commission is specifically seeking out organisations which use sport to bring about social inclusion of forcibly displaced people, tackle climate change and protection of the environment, promote gender equality, and use innovative methods to boost sport and physical activity participation.
Four grants valued at CHF 20,000 each will be assigned to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and International and National Sports Federations (including IOC-recognised International Federations) that use sport as a tool for social development. Applications can be made by 1 December 2019 on the dedicated web page, and the winners will be announced in early 2020.
Following Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, and in light of World Health Organisation (WHO) figures showing that over 80 per cent of the world’s adolescent population is not getting enough exercise, the IOC offered its first SAS grants back in 2016. Every year since then it has reinforced that commitment to galvanise communities through sport, with a positive mental and physical impact for people of all ages.
Former Development Grant recipients
It was on the 2019 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace that the four winners of this year’s grants were announced, based on the themes of social inclusion and gender equality, as well as projects that are bringing sport to urban areas.
In Macedonia, the Cross Cultures Project Association was among those recognised for promoting peace and tolerance between ethnic groups. The project has brought Albanian, Turkish, Serbian and Macedonian children together through a grandparents-led football programme that also teaches values including the importance of gender equality and healthy lifestyles.
Among the recipients of the first grants back in 2016 was the Salaam Bombay Foundation, based in Mumbai, India. The organisation used the money to organise an all-female cricket tournament to empower young girls, educate them on the importance of physical activity and promote the importance of equality in participation.
Others to benefit from SAS Commission funding include the Dreamfields Project in South Africa, where the money went towards much-needed sports equipment for rural schools and townships, and the remarkable Skateistan NGO, which helped provide 1,000 Afghan children, especially girls, with free skateboarding and education programmes.
The initiative is not looking only to the future generations, however. Help Age International Tanzania was awarded a grant in 2017, the money bringing wellbeing opportunities to the elderly, alongside inter-generational exchanges and know-how on the prevention and control of diseases through exercise.