The importance of sport in disadvantaged countries

The poverty of a country is calculated relative to the GDP per capita. Topping the list of this sad ranking, there are a lot of African countries, whose GDP per capita does not exceed $ 1,000. For South Sudan, it is at $ 236 in 2019, which puts it in first (and tragically) position. To get an idea, that of France is at $ 42,000 …

Often linked to conflict or war, the “symptoms” of a disadvantaged country are very often the same … namely: authoritarian rule, weak judicial institutions, limited freedom of expression and high corruption rate.

Sport, a vector of Peace

The NGO Peace and Sport, created in 2007 by champion Joël Bouzou (French champion of modern pentathlon) is a global organization that uses sport and its values ​​as an instrument of peace.

Thus, it sets up a system of peacebuilding programs focused on education through sport, making it possible to offer all youth (in particular disadvantaged, traumatized, orphaned, displaced and former child soldiers) a structured framework for assistance, integration and education.

Great projects have materialized, and especially great successes, since the sporting dynamic driven by this association has already made it possible to reintegrate child soldiers, reintegrate refugees, or even facilitate access to schooling…

The other important point for Peace and Sport is to manage to sensitize political leaders, but also large international companies, on the importance of sport in social and local policy, which can be a real vector of peace.

Sport to overcome the problem of schooling

A dramatic consequence of a country’s poverty is the number of children unable to access schooling. School, in addition to imparting pedagogical knowledge and general culture, also enables children to learn fundamental social values.

And it is here that sport takes an important place, even essential, in these poor countries… Because sport conveys important values ​​of honesty, teamwork, pride, self-respect, others, and rules in general. All these values ​​that a child cannot learn at school, he can find them again during a simple neighborhood football match …

In some countries, local clubs or organizations are setting up community programs to give children and young people access to sport and physical activity. They then organize matches, or non-institutional tournaments, to give them this opportunity.

Getting involved in physical activity plays an extremely important role in the psychosocial development of the individual, and especially in children.

Sport and economic development

When a sporting event (of varying size) is organized, it is often the opportunity for the country, or the welcoming city, to create jobs and boost commercial activity . Indeed, the local economy is often favorably impacted by the arrival of thousands of people who will then spend money on food, accommodation, transport, or even tourist activities.

Local industries can also emerge. This is the case, for example, in Peru, where certain local races, such as the Inca Marathon, the International Andes Marathon or the Huancayo Race, have led to the creation of a shoe factory for runners.

But beware, this development has limits… Ricchard Attias warns us in an article in the Huffington post, and specifies that “The organization of sporting events only has beneficial effects on the development of States. ‘it encourages local citizens to practice sports and if they can then use the facilities built for the event. ”

Because unfortunately, the observation is that too often sport benefits the richest states, and not all the citizens of the country…

It is therefore a challenge today: that the economic development of a country through sport be beneficial to the entire population!

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