United through Sports: Managing Sport-For-Development Programs in Disadvantaged Communities

Leisure Studies Association
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Community and Inclusion in Leisure Research and Sport Development, 2011, 1, pp. 55 - 76
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Sport programs and special events have received increasing interest and support by local, state, federal governments, as well as third sector organisations as a tool for reducing intergroup conflict and facilitating cooperation between disparate communities. While impact assessments and sociological investigations of sport-for-development projects have become subject to some empirical analysis, there has been limited research that explores how sport can be operationalised to achieve desired social development outcomes. To fill this gap, this paper investigates two independent sport-for-development case studies from Sri Lanka and rural Australia, and utilises interviews, observations and document analysis techniques to explore organisational approaches and management strategies employed to facilitate social development through sport. Findings are analysed in relation to Thomson et al.âs (in press) management framework, which is used as the basis for a wider discussion on the implications for sport-for-development initiatives in disparate community settings. Through adopting an approach where leadership values community interests and needs, strategies outlined in this document can contribute to sport being used as a vehicle to achieve wider social outcomes, including informal reconciliation, inclusive social change, and overall social development.
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