chapter  8
10 Pages

Non-governmental organisations in Sport for Development and Peace

ByOscar Mwaanga

A logical point of departure in trying to estimate the nature and identity of SDP NGOs is to elucidate what is meant by the term NGO in this context. NGOs are heterogeneous organisations that are linked to alternative terms such as the independent sector, volunteer sector, civil society, grass-roots organisations, transnational social movement organisations, private voluntary organisations, self-help organisations and non-state actors (NSAs). In wider usage, the term NGO can be applied to any non-profit organisation that is independent from government. NGOs are typically value-based organisations that depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. While ambiguity surrounds the definition of NGOs, the principles of altruism and voluntarism remain key defining characteristics. The World Bank defines NGOs as ‘private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development’ (Duke University Libraries, n.d.). Willets (2006, p. 2) recognises that ‘at the UN virtually all types of private bodies can be recognised as NGOs … so long as they are … independent from government control, not seeking to challenge governments as a political party, non-profit-making and non-criminal’. Though this definition has broad distinguishing features, it is vague and leads to wide range usage of the term. However, Green (2008, pp. 90-91) highlights that NGOs are, characteristically, ‘not driven solely by financial motives and may have imprecise objectives’, and are accountable to diverse parties and heavily driven by volunteers. In sum, NGOs can be distinguished from government and profit-making or private sector institutions, but due to their wide ranging remit and sometimes imprecise objectives it is difficult to clearly distinguish between NGOs based on rigid definitional parameters. Within the SDP sector the wide ranging usage of the term ‘NGO’ in trying to capture the multifarious organisational forms prevalent within the movement, together with the organisations’ various contextual and purpose-related idiosyncrasies, becomes an issue when attempting to comprehend the characteristics and contributions of NGOs (Lewis, 2007). In addition, the ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the term ‘sport for development’ itself further compounds the difficulties of conceptualisation of NGO involvement within the movement. For example, Houlihan and White (2002) differentiate between development of sport (that is, interventions in which organisations aim to enhance participation and performance in sport as an

end in itself; e.g. the International Football Association) and development through sport (signifying those interventions or organisations designed to use sport as a vehicle to achieve a range of social development goals). For example, Sport in Action is an indigenous Zambian SDP NGO founded in 1999 with the primary purpose of using sport as a tool to address community development goals. Other commentators have added to this debate; for instance, Coalter (2007b) introduces the terms ‘sport plus’ and ‘plus sport’. Accordingly, ‘sport plus’ refers to initiatives primarily focused on the development of sport whereas ‘plus sport’ initiatives chiefly focus on social development through sport (Coalter, 2007b). Levermore and Beacom (2009) add a useful dimension that problematises the general categorisations of ‘development through sport’ and ‘sport for development’. They assert that such conceptualisations assume that the use of sport in the development process is overwhelmingly positive, thus precluding the possibility of sport being detrimental to development. Against this backdrop, they advocate the use of ‘sport-in-development’ as representative of the perception that the use of sport may assist in the development process (Levermore and Beacom, 2009). Notwithstanding what may seem a useful debate that takes analysis beyond mere terminologies, a number of questions still remain unanswered, owing to the diversity of SDP NGOs. SDP NGOs represent a myriad of forms and purposes for involvement in the SDP movement (Black, 2010). For example, SDP non-governmental organisations may be local, national, regional, transnational or international in their operational capacity, while also being based either in the Global North and/or in the Global South (Yeates, 2009). A local NGO can be localised to a particular community, in which case they may be called community-based organisations (CBOs). SDP CBOs will usually carry the name of a specific geographical community. An example here would be the Bauleni United Sport Association (BUSA), an SDP CBO using sport to address wide-ranging developmental issues facing young people in a geographically defined community: Bauleni (Zambia). Bauleni is a shanty compound located on the outskirts of Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. The Rwandan ‘Football for Peace’ can be considered an example of a national SDP NGO. ‘Football for Peace’ encourages co-ed football, teaches selfresponsibility, improving capabilities in conflict resolution and countering the negative impacts of the ethnic divide of the Rwandan population. Open Fun Football Schools has a similar remit to ‘Football for Peace’ in Rwanda, but because it concentrates on the Balkans region, it can be considered a good example of a regional SDP NGO. An apparent example of a transnational or international SDP NGO is the Toronto-based organisation Right to Play (RTP), which runs projects in over 20 Global South countries. RTP uses Western volunteers to run sports activities and programmes aimed at promoting physical health and life skills. NGOs will naturally occupy variegated positions of what could be termed the ‘vertical hierarchy’ of the SDP movement (Nicholls, 2009, p. 158). In addition, SDP NGOs are further diversified when considering their location either in the Global North or South. Also based on the organisation’s foci may be SDP NGOs categorically placed within funding (i.e. donor and/or recipient) SDP NGOs, performing advocacy and/or programme implementation (Levermore, 2008). In line with the above categorisation, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is an example of a Global North and predominately funding SDP NGO, while the Tegle Loroupe Peace Foundation, which promotes peace in the Greater Horn of Africa, can be categorised as a Global South and recipient SDP NGO. Furthermore, Levermore (2008, p. 185) suggests the following descriptive clustering of SDP NGOs based on the development objectives they seek to achieve:

1. Conflict resolution and intercultural understanding. 2. Building physical, social, sport and community infrastructure.