Sport as an Innovative Approach for Youth Development and Empowerment

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala


This paper, “Sports as an Innovative Approach for Positive Youth Development and Empowerment” is about the effectiveness of using sports as a vehicle for positive change. Through this research, I interviewed different sport-based youth development organizations asking how sports can be harnessed to empower youth, what are different and innovative approaches, what are the challenges implementing these kinds of programs, and what are the lessons learned. In order to answer these questions, I interviewed different organizations in different parts of the world. To bring depth to the study, I interviewed two people who have studied sports, worked with sport-based organizations and who have strong passions for the concept of sports in the development context.

The four organizations that I interviewed are: Skateistan, Partners of the Americas, Right to Play, and Escalada Urbana. Skateistan is a skateboarding school in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa that uses the skateboard to empower and educate youth. A Ganar, that is led by Partners of the Americas, is a youth workforce development program wrapped up in a soccer ball that works in Latin America and some African countries. Escalada Urbana is a rock climbing program for youth that live in the slums of Rio in Brazil. Right to Play is a global organization, using the transformative power of play to educate and empower children and youth.

Sport for development is a newly emerging movement and has a lot of potential to bring change and harness some of the major issues confronting the world such as, poverty, gender discrimination, health and violence. This paper analyses the potential contribution that sports can make towards positive development.


Arts and Humanities | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | International and Area Studies | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work | Sports Studies

This document is currently not available here.