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Sport for protection toolkit

The ‘Sport for Protection toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings’ was created by UNHCR, IOC and Terre des hommes (Tdh), aiming to better understand the role that sport can play in the protection and well-being of refugee and internally displaced young people.

Our collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has led to an outstanding success: the publication of the Sport for Protection Toolkit. Emphasising the role that sport can play in the well-being of vulnerable children and youths and their communities , this toolkit will guide Terre des hommes (Tdh) and other organisations and stakeholders to better appreciate and implement effective Sport for Protection programming on site.


Over the past decade, millions of people have fled and continue to flee their homes in search of safety from conflict and violence. Refugees or internally displaced persons live in deplorable conditions in camps, in remote towns or urban centres. Uprooted, many of them are struggling with poverty and have difficulty to integrating.


Children and young people from 10 to 24 years old make up a large proportion of the more than 68.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. In addition to the challenges related to becoming adults, many of them live with the violence, neglect, personal loss or disruption in their educational, economic or social activities that come with being displaced. They also face daily challenges of adapting to new and often increasingly difficult environments. When large numbers of people are forced together through circumstances beyond their control such as war and conflict, it is common for both displaced and host communities to face increased personal conflict, psychological distress and isolation.


How sport can help

Sport and physical exercise can play an important role in combating some of the challenges of forced displacement by enhancing the protection, well-being and social cohesion and inclusion of young people from both communities. This belief has led us to collaborate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings.


Providing a safe environment and involving these young people in playing a meaningful role, sports can enhance their individual and collective skills and capacities. When given meaningful opportunities to participate, young people have an incredible ability to use their energy and creativity to initiate positive change in their lives and communities. Sport can also be used by the coach, who is a key actor in young people’s enjoyment of sports and attainment of sport-related protection benefits, as a tool to integrate all children, make them feel equal (i.e. disability, gender discrimination), to increase their participation and assure their psychological and social wellbeing.

A challenge that Tdh wants to tackle

This toolkit represents an important step in an ongoing collaboration that also aims at better monitoring and evaluating the impact sport can have in the protection and well-being of refugee and internally displaced young people, and also more widely, as Sport can be beneficial in a large range of settings. It builds on the more than ten years of practical experience implementing our Movement, Games and Sport methodology for migrating children, which shows an important improvement in the well-being of the children and their communities as well on as good practices identified on the field .


By the implementation of the toolkit around the world we also hope to continue to reinforce our expertise in capturing those changes, which is a key to advocating and engaging stakeholders to use the power of sport to strengthen the protection, development and empowerment of vulnerable children and youths.


Not only is the new toolkit designed to protect children in sport settings (child safeguarding), it also prioritises protection through sport, according to which sport is a powerful tool to enhance social cohesion, integration and psychosocial wellbeing, as in our project in Egypt.


Watch the video about this toolkit.


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