At the start of 2022 I was approached by my former PhD supervisor with information pertaining to a pilot project that was being initiated by the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), with funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). I was encouraged to apply and was chosen as one of eight participants representing Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, for the Empowering Future Leaders in International Grassroots Sport project.
The aim of the pilot project was to bring together scholars (those who have studied sport at post-graduate level) and implementors (those who work in the field of sport for development), provide workshop training sessions and seminars, for the development of a toolkit.
There are many toolkits in the field of sport for development, but what sets this toolkit apart from many others, is that it brought together scholars and implementors, to share experiences from the field and utilized the experiences of the implementors as the foundation for the toolkit’s content.
Toolkits are developed by scholars for implementors, without input from and collaboration with implementors, to ensure relevance to the context in which the toolkit will be used. By bringing both groups together, ICSSPE ensured that the toolkit would include and provide indigenous knowledge examples and information for ongoing African challenges in the field of sport for development. It is an African toolkit, by young Africans, for young Africans.
Being part of this pilot project was a privilege. I also believe that the bottom-up approach used in this pilot study, is one of the ways that we can start actively working towards finding solutions for African sport – working from a bottom-up approach. Those who work on the ground daily in sport, are a greater source of knowledge and solutions than they are given credit for. My experience on this project proves that.
I am proud to have helped develop Let’s Get Moving Together! A Toolkit for Grassroots Sport Leaders. I hope that if you are reading this and are involved (or want to be involved) in community-level sport, you will download this toolkit, read it and share it within your network.
Dr Nana Adom-Aboagye
Post-Doctoral Fellow: Centre for Sport Leadership