Throughout the world, more and more organisations are using sport as an effective tool for development. However, for programs to meet their expectations, safeguarding must be at the core of the whole program development, implementation and learning cycle. Programs must be accompanied with high-quality safeguarding training and robust safeguarding practices at all levels.
In 2021, the UEFA Foundation for Children and Common Goal sought to build capacity for safeguarding in the sport for development sector by launching an online safeguarding course. A five-track training programme was developed with ten experts to educate, support, and raise the awareness of coaches, volunteers, and everyone working in the sport for development sector.
Those experts from eight organizations (Dream a Dream in India, Oltalom Sport Association in Hungary, Coaches across Continents in Nicaragua, Palestine Sports4Life in Palestine, Sacred Sports Foundation in St. Lucia, training4changeS in South Africa, Tackle Africa in United Kingdom, and Bauleni United Sports Academy in Zambia) came together to create a course to showcase the diversity of contexts, needs and barriers, and power mechanisms linked to safeguarding.
The course aims to educate learners about cross-cutting sectoral problems that affect the well-being of participants in both development and sports works. Each module is designed with an experience-based short-animated video, followed by thought provoking questions, information sharing and reflection. Experts also provide practical tools on how to prevent and respond to safety incidents. Finally, a short learning check is provided in the form of a quiz. This structure is used in the five modules: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and online abuse.
The online course seeks to celebrate diversity, with examples from different backgrounds and level of ability, with an attempt to cater to the particular needs of the sport for development sector.
Further resources have been developed for organizations to share among children, including posters and social media posts with child friendly information about different types of abuse, how to get help, and the commitment of protection that an organization should take towards children.
In the next phase, the UEFA Foundation for Children and Common Goal will further develop the e-course, featuring two new modules that will tackle the root causes of inequalities and provide insights on how to build inclusive spaces where all can feel safe, heard and valued.
The open-source e-course is planned to be released in several more languages by the end of 2023, with the hope to bring better awareness around the topic of violence and propose inclusive safeguarding solutions for the sport for development sector.