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Sport for Development

Developing an evidence-based framework for S4D programming and policy
Sport for Development

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. Building on the findings of the Getting into the Game report, the second phase of this mixed-methods study includes in-depth, exploratory case studies of S4D organizations and programmes  across the globe. By harnessing the experiences of stakeholders from different countries, it identifies best practices and aims to develop a clear set of guidelines on designing, implementing, and ensuring the sustainability and scale-up of effective S4D programmes for children and youth. 

In 2019, 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. Now in its second phase, the project builds the evidence base by drawing on ten case studies on S4D organisations operating in different contexts.


Getting into the Game: Understanding the evidence for child-focused sport for development
Publication Publication

Getting into the Game: Understanding the evidence for child-focused sport for development

Sport is a powerful tool for involving all children – including the most marginalized and vulnerable – in group activities from an early age (UNHCR, 2013). For this reason, sport for development (S4D) organizations use sport as an inclusive means of helping children to improve their health; to develop their physical abilities; to develop their social, educational and leadership skills; and of course, to play and have fun. S4D initiatives come in various forms – from those that build personal and social programmes around sport, to those that include sport as one of many approaches to achieving social goals. This new UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti summary report analyses available evidence on S4D initiatives for children and youth. The findings cover how the key outcomes of education, social inclusion, protection and empowerment link to sport; what works in practice and how it works; the main challenges for implementation; and recommendations for better policy, practice and research.