Sport for a Better World
Changemakers, in partnership with Nike launched the "Sport for a Better World" competition. The 2007 competition is now closed, but you can still read the entries and discuss. Please check regularly for more updates.
Dear Changemakers Community,
It is our nature to innovate. At Nike, we believe the best solutions spring from the creativity within, which is why we have joined with Ashoka, a leading innovator for social change, to launch the Nike – Changemakers Competition: Sport for a Better World.
Since its early years, Nike has led the way as an advocate for change in the world of sport – whether it was pushing the IOC to include long-distance running events or challenging racism in European football arenas with the Stand Up Speak Up campaign. We are now proud to partner with Ashoka’s Changemakers initiative to channel this energy toward using sport itself as a means to create social change in the broader world.
Ashoka is a citizen-sector support system for social entrepreneurs – people around the world who develop innovative solutions to the social problems that most urgently demand them. To further this goal, Ashoka’s Changemakers.net website provides an online, interactive forum that encourages collaboration and discussion, along with competition, to draw out the most effective ideas.
Ashoka’s Changemakers and Nike have partnered to open a worldwide search for projects that use the transformative power of sport to achieve real social change. We hope you will join us. Between September 17th and January 8th, 2008, we invite you to propose a way to leverage sport for positive social impact.
Even if you do not offer a proposal of your own, we invite you to join the dialogue. Your experience and insights are invaluable to the emerging field of sport for social change.
Join the online Changemakers community to make suggestions and recommend resources that will help refine and strengthen the strategies presented by competition entrants. Tell us what you’re thinking, how you see the field, where its challenges and opportunities lie.
We’ll need your help again in February 2008 to vote for three winners from the 12 finalists who will be selected by our panel of judges – a group of influential leaders in the field of sport for social change.
With your help, we have the potential to shape the field of sport for change and bring real solutions to our most troubling social problems. You may already be engaged in activities that use sport to change your corner of the world. Now bring this knowledge to a global community. We encourage you to invite others to the competition as well, so together we may uncover the creativity – and natural drive to innovate – within each of us.
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Nike, Inc.
Welcome to the “Nike – Changemakers Competition: Sport for a Better World” Collaborative Competition, which aims to find innovative solutions and catalyze a community of changemakers around the use of sport to improve community, accelerate development and drive social change.
For more information on entering, the online review, and voting please view the competition criteria and time line below.
The competition will be open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:
• Reflect the theme of the competition: Sport for a Better World. The scope of the competition is to identify innovative solutions that use sport to improve community, accelerate development and drive social change. Entries are invited from organizations and individuals in all countries.
• Are beyond the stage of idea, concept, or research, and, at a minimum, are at the demonstration stage and indicate success. While we support new ideas at every stage, and encourage their entry, our judges are only able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage, and have demonstrated a proof of impact, even at small scale
• Complete the entire online entry form and submit before the deadline.
The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:
• Innovation: This is the knock-out test; if the work is not innovative the judges will not give it high rankings. The application must describe the systemic innovation that it is focused on. The innovation should be a unique model of change and ready for large-scale spread.
• Social Impact: It is important that the innovation has begun to have an impact on the field it addresses. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level, while others will have scaled to engage millions of people. Regardless of the level of demonstrated impact, it is important to see that the innovation has the ability to be applied in the U.S. and other countries. This will be judged by considering the scale strategy, ability to be replicated, clear how-tos, and a map to reach the big goals.
• Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective it must have a plan for how it will acquire financial and other bases of support for the long-term. Are strong partnerships in place for it to have a ripple effect? Is there a clear financial plan in place?
Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules
Online competition submissions are accepted until January 8, 2008 at 6pm, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. Any time before this deadline, competition participants could revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances one's prospects in the competition and gives the community and the judges an opportunity to understand one's project more completely.
There are three main phases in the competition:
• Entry Stage – September 17 – January 8, 2008: Entries can be submitted until 6 pm Eastern US time on January 8, 2008, and anyone can participate in an online idea review discussion with the entrants.
• Early Entry Prize - Enter by October 24, 2007: The best innovation entered by October 24, 2007 at 6pm EST will win a trip to the Sport for a Better World Change Summit.
• Online Review and Judging – January 9 to February 15, 2008: Online idea review discussion continues. In parallel, a panel of judges well-versed in the topic and Ashoka staff select the competition finalists.
• Voting – February 15 to March 3, 2008: The Changemakers community votes online to select the three award winners from the field of finalists. The Changemakers Collaborative Competition winners, the three finalists that receive the most votes, will be announced on March 3, 2008 and will each receive a cash prize of US$5,000.
Participating in the competition provides the chance to receive feedback on your blueprint from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges and the Changemakers community. Showcasing your blueprint and the challenges involved in creating social impact advises potential investors about how best to change funding/investing patterns for the sector and to maximize the strategic impact and effectiveness of their future investments.
Disclaimer—Compliance with Legal Restrictions
Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sport for a Better World
How can play and sport cultivate optimism, joy, a sense of community, and skills for the future in poor or marginalized youth?
Around the world, millions of youth are born into conditions that rob them of access to core developmental needs: basic health care and nutrition, a loving home, stimulation for body and mind, and a sense of belonging. Whether it is grinding poverty, racism, or war that puts these rights out of reach, the experience of sport and play can begin to rebuild a youth's shattered world.
Through team sports, individual physical challenges, and community play, youth can regain a sense of optimism, learn conflict resolution and other life skills, tap into their own abilities, and cultivate self-esteem. Sport clearly has a role to play in effectively addressing issues confronting youth. However, there are obstacles to realizing its full potential as a tool for social change, and to advancing the field of sport for social change as a whole.
This mosaic illustrates how Ashoka Fellows have explored the fields of sport and play as antidotes to a variety of social ills; it also provides a gap analysis of current efforts to address the obstacles associated with advancing the field of sport for social change, and a foundation upon which the next generation of social entrepreneurs in the field of sport for social change can build.
- Few effective tools for personal improvement. In marginalized societies, there are few resources or opportunities to address the difficult challenges of personal development and growth. Many people have no access to change because of how their society is structured.
- Stereotyping that excludes. Populations marginalized because of entrenched social norms such as gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, age, or disability are often excluded by other youth in informal play, and they are overlooked by play programs. These stereotypes exist outside of and inside the world of sport.
- Sports are trivialized. Sport can teach life skills as well as—or more effectively than—textbook lessons, yet it is not incorporated into many school systems and youth programs. Moreover, sport can also be used effectively as a tool for mobilization, social cohesion, and personal development. Yet sport is frequently considered merely frivolous recreation. Professionals responsible for social services, education, and development rarely think of sport as a tool in their toolbox of approaches to address various social ills confronting young people.
- Lack of "safe spaces." Young people often do not have access to the infrastructure of childhood—the space to be children that is a necessity for growth and development. Sometimes these places do not exist at all, which is common for youth living in poverty, or else they do not have access to the places due to an atmosphere of violence or intolerance. Sport cannot be leveraged as a tool for addressing social challenges if this basic building block is not accessible.
- The world of sport is tainted. The world of sport is perceived as corrupt, over-commercialized, and often perpetuating negative messages due to fan behavior, excessive competitiveness, and exclusion. Sport's power for change is under-publicized and underutilized, and the prevailing perception sometimes deters the social sector from reaching out to engage the sport sector.
Insights (Y axis):
- Leverage the fun factor. Sport is a means to an end. It can serve as a vehicle for social messages, information, and services. Coupling sport programs with health services, academics, or job training increases the odds that kids will take advantage of those opportunities.
- Use sport to build character. Sport can teach, model, and provide the opportunity to experience life lessons such as rules and consequences, resilience, self-discipline, conflict resolution, and initiative.
- Include through sport. Sport can be an equalizer. Including those who are often excluded—due to gender, class, handicap, or race—in sport activities can be a path to broader acceptance, tolerance, and self-esteem off the field. Sport and play provide easy access to social participation.
- Social cohesion. Sport can spark a connection among whole communities, spawning civic pride and a sense of identity. Sport has the power to change outdated perceptions, mobilize communities around issues, and lead to concrete action.
Few tools for improvement
Sports are trivialized
Lack of "safe spaces"
Sports are tainted
Sara Diestro (Peru) uses soccer to entice disadvantaged kids to take advantage of medical and nutritional services
Atuki Turner (Uganda) fights violence against women by challenging traditions such as "bride price" and teaching self-defense and karate
Jonny Gevisser (South Africa) is creating regionally-based extra-curricular arts and sports centers to complement schools
Piroska Horváth (Hungary) has designed a sports championship program to provide alternatives to drug abuse and other destructive activities
Jürgen Griesbeck (Germany) is building a global network of citizen organizations using soccer for change to improve their impact and connect with professional sports.
Luke Dowdney (Brazil/UK) uses boxing and martial arts to offer poor favela children alternatives to violence.
Abdelfattah Abusrour (Palestine) introduces sports and theater to Palestinian children in refugee camps to inspire nonviolence.
Souadou Diabate Kone (Mali) is rooting out gender discrimination by and disempowerment through girls' sports programs.
Cosmas Okoli (Nigeria) manufactures special prostheses, manual car controls, and sports equipment for the disabled.
Jill Vialet (United States) providing schools with sports and recreation programs for disadvantaged youth.
Haidy Duque (Colombia) uses the dance/sport of capoeira to engage indigenous people in building self-esteem and community.
Vishal Talreja (India) uses sports to integrate orphans, HIV-positive kids, and street children with affluent youth to spur emotional growth and bridge disparities.
Darell Hammond (United States) has sparked a movement of community-built playgrounds in underprivileged areas.
Iqbal Sabery (Bangladesh) has designed a rural after-school program for children to take charge of their free time to contribute to their communities.
Participate Discuss   Read the Overall Framework of the Competition
Short Descriptions of Mosaic Cases
- Sara Diestro
Organization: Escuela de Deporte y Vida
Mosaic Principle: Leverage the fun factor
Mosaic Barrier: Few tools for improvement
Ashoka Fellow Sara Diestro is capitalizing on Peru's passion for soccer through her program, School for Sports and Life (Escuela de Deporte y Vida) that uses sports and the spirit of Peru's most popular soccer team, Alianza Lima, to engage at-risk Peruvian youths from the poorest background in life-skills development aimed at keeping them away from a life of crime and despondency. While the focus in on developing paticipants' skills as soccer players-the reason why the kids from shanty towns enlist in the junior division of the Alliance in first place-this program in uncomprimising in its emphasis on the educational, health and social development needs of its participants. The program builds self-esteem, good sportsmanship, respect for authority and rivals, tolerance, discipline, perseverance, leadership and cooperation, thus preparing them for responsible and constructive societal roles. In implementing the program, Sara is supported by an informal association of soccer fans, doctors, teachers, psychologists and other professionals.
Although the Ugandan government has ratified international and regional conventions to protect women, the high rate of domestic violence in the country points a finger at the lack of political will in implementation. Working through local women's groups, Ashoka Fellow Atuki Turner is building a pan-African community-based response to domestic violence that makes community members and structures responsible for protecting women from violence. Integral to the program are the self-defense and karate classes that empower the women physically to literally fight back against violence instead of meekly submitting to it. Turner's model is backed up with national-level policy work to create an enabling legal and social context for change.
With the exception of a small minority of privileged white schools, most schools in South Africa offer precious little in the way of extra-curricular activities. The student population is typically unoccupied and unsupervised during empty afternoons, vulnerable to gangsterism, violence, and drug and sexual abuse. Ashoka Fellow Jonny Gevisser sociologist and educator, has created regionally-based extra-curricular centres to complement existing formal educational institutions to provide active, creative outlets for black students. By engaging children's after-school hours in constructive educational and recreational activities, such as camping and survival skills training, conflict resolution training, arts and crafts and career counseling, Gevisser's Extra-Mural Education Project offers an immediate supplement to the current inadequate system. Through his program, children build skills and develop a sense of self worth, critical to preparing students to handle future challenges.
A trained nurse, Ashoka Fellow Piroska Horváth's sports championship program provides unemployed, disillusioned Hungarian youth with an appealing alternative to drug abuse and destructive behavior. Initially, it is the well-equipped athletic center that acts as a magnet to entice these youngsters, but as they go along, the program's volunteer counselors-both peers and adults-help participants emerge as confident, productive citizens, and community leaders. The program also includes cultural activities and the enabling environment fosters the sharing of similar self-doubts and fears. Additionally, she offers language and computer courses to boost their job market value.
Ashoka Fellow Jurgen Griesbeck's vision of social change on a global scale is finding definition through his use of street football as a tool for development. His organization coordinates a global network of over 80 organizations that use the social potential of football to work on topics like violence prevention, health awareness, social integration, peace building, environmental protection, and education. Through participation in international football festivals, Griesbeck sensitizes the population in host countries of huge football events like the FIFA World Cups. In 2005 streetfootballworld forged a strategic alliance with FIFA. The aim of the alliance is to establish the "Football for Hope" movement and thus strengthen the global network and its members.
Ashoka Fellow Jim Thompson is leveraging the opportunity inherent in sports to teach core social values-leadership, communication, and cooperation-to young people. His Positive Coaching Alliance has developed practical tools that enable coaches and parents to support respect, reciprocity, and emotional resiliency in their players. By forging partnerships with sports icons, Thompson ensures that the playing field is viewed as a space where lessons in responsible citizenship can be learned, and where lessons such as intimidation, violence and the pressure to win, are unlearned.
An ex-boxer with a masters in social anthropology, Ashoka Fellow Luke Dowdney is using sport to teach at-risk youth self-defense, self-esteem and discipline. By training youths in boxing, wrestling and martial arts, along with education programs and job skills development, Dowdney is eradicating child and youth participation in antisocial activities. Appropriately named Fight for Peace, the lure of sport is the bait that the program uses to impart literacy help and psychological counseling. To instill in them the desire to enter the job market and build a positive future for themselves, the youths are required to attend citizenship classes that teach nonviolence and conflict resolution. Recognizing that this social problem is not exclusive to Brazil, Dowdney has extended his program internationally as well, opening FFP centers in areas where young people are adversely affected by and involved in crime, gangs and gun violence.
Having lived life first-hand in Palestine's refugee camps and experienced the daily brutality that characterises life there, Ashoka Fellow Abdelfattah Abusrour is teaching non-violent self-expression using sport, arts and theater, where the children themselves, in time, become promoters of peace. His program leverages these activities to impart a sense of tolerance and empathy as well as helps them develop non-violent communication patterns. He complements these programs by training parents and community members in non-violent resistance. By touring internationally with his children's theater group, the program has gained worldwide support and recognition.
In India, Ashoka Fellow SLN Swamy is using eco-tourism to inculcate eco-consciousness in people across every social class, occupation, background, and age. His organization, The Adventurers, offers land, water and air expeditions with the goal of building awareness of environmental threats, where participants eventually commit themselves to the environmental cause and build new habits in response to this awareness as eco-managers. Equally impressive is how he is also creating economic incentives for the forest's tribal inhabitants to preserve their ecological heritage.
In Mali, development programs have glossed over the especial needs of adolescent girls, particularly in self-esteem preservation, healthcare advice, and skills development. This gap has resulted in the omission of female concerns in policies affecting youth, with their interests not represented in decision-making processes. Using sport as one vehicle to root out gender discrimination, Ashoka Fellow Souadou Diabaté Koné is guiding adolescent girls to take charge of their lives and to establish their own representative structures. Through the Association's all-female groups and soccer teams, the girls gain exposure both in the media and among the wider public, while learning confidence, competition, and performance. Informational sessions on reproductive health and other issues are organized in conjunction with games, which in turn, spurs new memberships and the formation of new groups.
Polio struck Cosmas Okoli when he was just four, leaving him physically challenged. Having experienced the helplessness and the low sense of self-worth that characterises most disabled persons, this Ashoka Fellow is building a world in which people like him can live productively and contribute to society. Toward this end, he is engaging disabled youths in peer support groups in which organized sport programs are an essential activity. At the national level, Okoli launched a sports program for the disabled to help build in them hope, confidence, and essential life skills. When the government dragged its feet on getting it going, he created a competing private national sports organization, which finally goaded the government into action. He also manufactures special equipment for the disabled including sports gear, manual car controls, and special prostheses.
In the US, budget cutbacks and an emphasis on test scores have adversely affected public schools in low-income neighborhoods, with "non-academic extras" like sport and afterschool programs being the hardest hit. Lack of adult supervision or supervised recreation, coupled with little or no playground equipment, have turned schoolyards into breeding grounds of bullying and illegal activity. Founded by Ashoka Fellow Jill Vialet in 1996, Sports4Kids, at US$20,000 per year, provides schools with an affordable sports and recreation program that leverages community resources to meet the needs of disadvantaged children and uses sport to increase community involvement in schools. Her youth mentoring and leadership program includes afterschool activities and interscholastic sports leagues that value personal growth and academic success just as much as competition. With documentary proof that shows significant improvements in safety, bonding, and conflict resolution among students in the program, Sport4Kids has spread quickly across the country.
Haidy Duque is working with rural Colombian children and youths-in particular, from Afro-Colombian communities-who have been displaced by the ongoing internal conflict in the country, and who face the trauma of lost livelihoods and racial discrimination. To help them rebuild their lives, this Ashoka Fellow has developed a series of interventions that range from self-analysis group sessions to cultural programs that include using the traditional fight-dance or sport of capoeira. Duque uses sport and art to instill pride in the rich traditions and variety inherent in campesino culture. Research has proved that Taller de Vida workshops participants have better motor skills, are better public speakers, and better understand their rights, than do other children their age.
Vishal Talreja is creating empowered futures for vulnerable children by offering them a whole range of enrichment options. His organization, Dream a Dream, manned by a cadre of trained volunteers, uses a spectrum of tactics to achieve this goal. One such is a sports program in partnership with two leading sports academies that boosts the confidence of participating children and strengthens their interpersonal communication skills as well as their ability to cope with emotional stress. Simultaneously, through strong partnerships and unique fundraising efforts that attract substantial aid from individuals and from businesses in the community, this Ashoka Fellow and former investment banker and venture capitalist is engendering a dedicated citizen and corporate base that supports society's most vulnerable members.
Play is a crucial part of the process of character development, through which children learn motor skills, social interaction, and creativity. Ideally, children should have access to an interactive play environment that is both safe and stimulating. In the US, the reality is that spaces for play do not exist in inner city areas, and young people turn increasingly to TV, drugs or crime. Ashoka Fellow Darell Hammond has created an effective delivery mechanism to get playgrounds built by bringing together communities and corporate volunteers in underprivileged communities. He makes his model work in neighborhoods where there are no active Parent Teacher Associations or parents to raise money to build playgrounds. By forming partnerships between local communities and corporations, where the latter match costs and volunteers with community resources, he has enabled the building of safe and fun playgrounds for children. With the success of Hammond's model, KaBOOM! has become a key player in the industry, and he believes that now is the time that attitudes at the policymaking level can be tipped toward establishing the right to play.
Recognizing that children in rural Bangladesh lack opportunities to build leadership skills and contribute productively to their families and communities, Iqbal Sabery's after-school centers are developing children as participants in their community by enouraging them to take charge of their lives. The centers are largely run by the kids who, from amongst themselves, elect "ministers" of sports, information, and health education. The program provides each group with basic sports and games equipment as well as a small lending library, around which resources activities such as sports competitions and immunization awareness campaigns are planned. These activities teach participants essential skills in communication, leadership and decision-making.
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