The ripple effect that is driving change at Laureus projects around the world

May 25, 2016
Not every new community project is a welcome addition to the Sport for Development world. There is growing criticism of organisations which go into an area to address a need, run out of funding and then pull out.
These flash-in-the-pan efforts are fuelled by the best of intentions and yet, because of their lack of sustainability, can do more damage than good.
This needs-based approach focuses on bringing in outside expertise to try and remedy perceived deficiencies in a community. In fact often all this does is to promote the acceptance within the community that it just does not have what is necessary to help move itself out of poverty.
The needs-based approach to Sport for Development can have longevity, as long as the outside support remains there, however, longevity should not be mistaken for sustainability, which comes from an asset-based approach.
Asset-based projects take the glass half-full approach when looking at communities, basing their methodology on honing existing strengths and potential.
Asset-based projects can bolster the positive, instead of majoring in negatives. Too often in the past the Sport for Development sector has focused on discouragement. However, across the globe, a shift is taking place.
On the Indian sub-continent the Bangalore-based Dream a Dream is proving that investing in the next generation of trainers is going to provide new job opportunities. This train-the-trainer approach is something Laureus Sport for Good has encouraged and it now extends to some of the biggest global organisations, like the Junior NBA programme run by NBA India, which has reached 1.5 million young people this year alone.
Eastern Africa has become home to a number of asset-based programmes that are really driving forward long-term impact, particularly in rural areas because of the ability to gain complete community buy-in.
Mifumi in Uganda uses karate to tackle gender-based violence, and Sadili use tennis to empower young girls in Eastern Nairobi, both bringing sport-based interventions to extremely rural parts of Africa. In rural areas supporting change requires a deep level of community buy in and by leveraging the skills, interests, experiences and enthusiasm of the community the impacts of development work can be multiplied many times.
Whether tackling conflict issues in Palestine/Israel, gang participation and youth violence in the UK, or HIV/AIDs in Africa and Asia, an asset-based approach is one that not only helps tackle specific community issues, but the empowerment of locals creates community assets which produce long-term and generational change.
Asset-based programmes create a ripple that keeps spreading out to improve the community. There is something fundamentally catalytic about creating good situations rather than trying to fix bad ones. At Laureus Sport for Good it’s an approach that we have supported over the years. The asset-based community development approach is at the core of our drive to fund and capacity-build organisations that are not only going to create change today but be around to drive change into the future.
Richard Loat
Laureus Sport for Good

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