Sports and Social Development

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inter-american foundation



Sports are incredibly valuable for improving social and economic progress. For this reason the U.N. recognizes April 6 each year as International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. 

We support organizations that use sports as a way to motivate youth and promote positive social change. Participating in sports improves fitness, fosters healthy competition, instills teamwork and pride and levels the playing field for marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Last week we observed the Day of Sport in our blog post "Scoring Goals for Youth and Community-Led Development" to highlight one of our grantee partners in Brazil. The Make It Happen Institute uses soccer and other sporting activities to reach youth and to educate them both on the field and on the sidelines.


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 Current Projects Reaching
Youth Through Sport  


Exceeding Membership Expectations by 200 Percent 

Our grantee partner Corporación Taller de Promoción Popular y Desarrollo Alternativo (Prodesal) in Colombia teams up young people with the public and private sectors. Prodesal uses sports and cultural events where young people showcase their athletic skills and talent. Young Colombians learn to participate in local policy-making, build their confidence, raise awareness of their rights and improve business skills.  

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Positive Alternatives for Young People Instead of Gangs  

The Guatemalan Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Juventud (ADESJU) offers sports and cultural activities to 750 young indigenous Maya Guatemalans in 25 affiliated community-based youth groups. They demonstrate to municipal authorities of Chiantla and Aguacatán that sports and cultural activities decrease the number of young people who join criminal gangs, abuse alcohol and drugs, drop out of school and migrate to Mexico or the United States.

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Increasing Civic Involvement and Tolerance  

In Uruguay, Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Afro-Mundo Afro Organizaciones uses sports leagues and cultural activities to further civic participation and tolerance among marginalized young Afro-Uruguayans. The program includes outdoor events and performances by musicians, dancers and actors. At least 10,000 young Afro-Uruguayans benefit.

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A Crash Course on the Miskitu Language as an Inroad to a Culture

Hugging the Caribbean coast of western Honduras into eastern Nicaragua, the Muskitia has long been a storied region. Laura Sauls, one of the IAF’s Grassroots Fellowship recipients, gives a glimpse of how she is learning to navigate not only this historic land but also the language.
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Video: Cosurca Sowing Peace

Watch the second video in our series that follows our grantee partners working to build peace in Colombia. Cosurca is one of 18 grassroots organizations in Colombia that we support to explore and to participate in building peace in their regions. 
>>See the video