Sport for development
There is ample evidence that regular physical activity is essential for the physical, mental, psychological and social development of children and adolescents. In light of this, UNICEF has long viewed sport as an ideal entry point for child, youth and community programmes.
It is from this perspective that the concept of ‘Sport for Development’ (or “S4D” as has come to be known) was established. Working through its country offices globally, including in South Africa, UNICEF actively promotes sport as an effective tool to achieve goals in health, education, gender equality, HIV and AIDS and child protection.
In South Africa, S4D was designed as a school safety initiative initially to address issues of violence and learner academic performance and mitigate risky behaviour amongst adolescents in the country’s most challenged schools. These challenges include inadequate qualification and low motivation of educators, large class sizes, poor physical conditions at schools, lack of proper sanitation facilities especially in rural areas and widespread violence in and around schools.In order to address these inequalities and to improve the situation in South African schools, UNICEF has been supporting the national Department of Basic Education to implement Sports for Development as a co-curricular programme that addresses social issues through physical activity and life-skills, including coaching and mentoring.