Sport for Development

Developing an evidence-based framework for S4D programming and policy

Sport for Development (S4D) uses sports to achieve crucial outcomes for children and youth, such as learning, health, empowerment and protection. Collaborating with partners, including the Barça Foundation, this research aims to expand the evidence base on S4D.  In 2019, UNICEF Innocenti launched the first global literature review on S4D – Getting into the Game – which found that sport can be a positive factor in four key areas of children’s lives: Education, Social Inclusion, Child Protection, and Empowerment. Playing the Game (2021) builds on these findings, harnessing the experiences of stakeholders from different contexts and provides ten in-depth case studies of S4D organizations. Based on the evidence, the report outlines a guiding framework – from design, through implementation, to scaling and sustainability – for S4D programming targeting children and youth. 

Now, the project is building the evidence base around the role S4D can play in refugee children’s mental health. Through a mixed-methods pilot, the study aims to show what good mental health can look like for refugee children and understand the mechanisms that bring about positive change through their participation in an S4D programme. The study takes place in 2022 in Lesvos, Greece