Helpdesk Report: Sports as a Vehicle for Development



How strong is the evidence that sport can be used as a vehicle for development?  Are there examples of what has worked and why it has worked in some situations and not others?


There is some strong evidence in academic literature linking sport and development. There is a significant amount of evidence to suggest that sport-based programs improve the learning performance of children and youth, facilitating educational attainment and encouraging them to stay in school, and that sport-based programs in schools aid in the social development of young people. This report includes details of an article which gathers evidence from over 50 countries and more than 6000 children in an independent evaluation on the role of physical education in education. They conclude that the benefits of a quality physical education and school sport experience are significant. Within the scope of this study it was not possible to find a specific example of something that worked in one situation but not in another. One point that did arise repeatedly was the importance of skilled, enthusiastic project coordinators, leaders and core staff. Good quality local staff will be able to design and run programmes to be context specific.


Bolton, L. Helpdesk Report: Sports as a Vehicle for Development. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2010) 12 pp.

Helpdesk Report: Sports as a Vehicle for Development

Published 1 January 2010