Promoting Sustainable Development Through Sports

The right to access sport and play has long been cited in international conventions, and UNESCO has described sport and physical education as a “fundamental right for all” for nearly 30 years. However, until recently, this right has too often been ignored.

In 2014, the United Nations inaugurated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace to both recognize the potential contribution of sport to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to underline the link between sports and an environment of peace, tolerance and understanding.

While sport alone cannot tackle the MDGs, its importance to countries’ broader strategies for addressing the MDGs is widely recognized. With a universal language and intrinsic values such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, and respect for the opponent and rules of the game, sport can help advance development goals from health promotion and disease prevention, to job and life skills development, to gender equality.

For all of these reasons, April 6 convenes international organizations, governments, civil society and the private sector to cooperate, observe and raise awareness in “united action towards sustainable development for all through sport.” The Resource Foundation (TRF) is participating in this movement by highlighting a few of our local partners that integrate sports and physical education into their strategies benefiting vulnerable communities across the region.

GoldeLetra3In Brazil, TRF partner Fundação Gol de Letra has been linked to sports ever since its beginnings in 1998, when it was founded by famous Brazilian ex-soccer players Raí and Leonardo. Gol de Letra reaches over 1,300 youth each year in low-income, socially vulnerable neighborhoods (favelas) in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with programs in art, sports, education and culture. It also supports families by operating as a community center in the evenings and on weekends. In 2001, Gol de Letra was recognized by UNESCO as a model organization for assisting at-risk children and youth.

Ingesta de Meriendas (2)Finally, TRF partner Fútbol con Corazón (FCC) works to build healthy and safe communities through a sports-based model targeting children and youth from low-income communities in Colombia. It uses its innovative Soccer for Peace methodology and recreational play to promote not only healthy eating and physical activity, but also values and life skills that will empower the children to act as positive agents of change in their respective communities. Currently, FCC’s programs directly impact over 3,200 people in the Atlántico and Bolívar departments.

Please join TRF in recognizing #IDSP2015 and the #powerofsport by making a donation to support the work of organizations like these and by sharing our post via social media. To learn about the work of other organizations in our local network, visit our interactive map!


By Lisa Schohl, TRF’s Director of Communications