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What do community members think the impacts are? A case study of a sport-for-development initiative in Africa
Graduate Student Leisure Research Symposium (2020)
  • Justin Robar, Western University
The first wave of Sport for Development (SfD) initiatives made bold assumptions that sport was inherently good for all participants and could achieve both social and developmental outcomes (Levermore, 2008, Lyras & Welty-Peachey, 2011). Many scholars began to question the impacts that SfD programs were having achieving developmental goals and positive social outcomes (Darnell, 2010, Coalter, 2013, Schulenkorf, Sherry, & Rowe, 2016, Svensson & Levine, 2017). Researchers also conveyed that there were possible issues associated with race and power dynamics, Global North and South relations, cultural sensitivity, and gender issues apparent in SfD programs (Darnell et al., 2016). There has been shifts in the SfD sphere in response to this critical research to work closer with the communities and individuals who are the co-creators of these programs (Coalter, 2007, 2010; Darnell, 2012; Collison & Marchesseault, 2018; Van der Kleshorst, 2018). 
The purpose of this study was to better understand how the community members who are co-creators and participants of this SfD initiative perceive the impacts of these programs at a community, and individual level. The community that I worked with has been working with a SfD program for the past eight years. I worked closely with a local gatekeeper (the rugby development officer) to understand the community and identify interviewees. Participants included; community members, parents, coaches, teachers, and former participants. During my time there I also participated in coaching seminars, worked with participants, and helped life skills sessions. Using Stake’s (1995) case study approach interviews, fieldwork, and content analysis were used. Through these methods and data analysis four over arching themes emerged. Community development through a sport-education centre, community interaction and engagement, development of participants, and High-Performance rugby development. These findings work to fill multiple gaps in literature identified by Schulenkorf, Sherry, & Rowe (2016) and attempt to address critical issues laid out by Darnell et al. (2016). This research also hopes to work as a bridge between academia, and practitioners and will aim to make recommendations for possible best practices moving forward in the SfD world that include; community engagement in development, upskilling local participants and community members, and seeking out feedback from the community members involved.
Publication Date
March, 2020
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
Citation Information
Robar, J. (2020, March). What do community members think the impacts are? A case study of a sport-for-development initiative in Africa (online feature). Graduate Student Leisure Research Symposium, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON