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Sport for development. Program to increase support for refugees and displaced people through sports and recreational activities. Analysis and Review.

(II) Colombia

#search   #work field   # analysis   #proposal


In 2017, the General Directorate of Development Cooperation (DGCD) of the Generalitat de Catalunya decided to start its commitment to sport and sports activity as a strategic tool for Catalonia in Development Cooperation. To this end, the DGCD commissioned two reports from ADIC techniques, within the framework of public development cooperation policies.


These reports carry out an exhaustive work of diagnosis and identification of needs in contexts of humanitarian crises with high presence of refugee and displaced population coming from war conflicts and other complex situations of violation of human rights, and define as the Sport for Development and Peace can have an impact on these contexts.


The diagnostic work shows that for sport to contribute to development it must take into account a number of factors that characterize the affected populations and must be focused on responding to the problems arising from the physical, psychological and emotional struggle to what all the groups of refugees, displaced people and host communities are exposed to. Essential elements have been collected to create an innovative, powerful and transformative, sport-based intervention guide to deal with the critical situations of trauma, risk and helplessness suffered by refugee and displaced populations.

The guide concludes by proposing specific project examples in the field of how the DGDC could initiate Sports for Development and Peace projects in Lebanon, Jordan and Colombia and recommends different lines of work for Catalonia to become a strategic player in this field.

It is in this framework where it is proposed that Catalonia hold an International Congress on Sport for Development, an event that will later also be held by ADIC.


The report details an action in Colombia as a result of intense research work on the Colombian conflict, in which several local actors were involved. The analysis defines a series of essential factors to be taken into account when proposing a sports project for development and peace in a context such as Colombia: the great social and psychological complexity that has generated an internal armed conflict. of more than 50 years, a context where dynamics of violence and conflict subsist and where there are whole generations who have only lived in a context of violence or the great social fracture that has caused conflict and  coexistence between two totally different realities: those active in the armed conflict and the community / population (civil society). The importance of especially affected groups such as women, girls, recruited children or minority communities must also be taken into account.

At the time of the report, Colombia is experiencing a historic and unique process, as it is in the midst of a peace process, in the interval between disarmament and the reintegration of ex-combatants into civil society. However, this process is experiencing moments of great fragility  due to the situation of political instability.


Once the conflict has been contextualized and the key factors to be taken into account have been detected, an analysis is made of the problems faced by the different actors involved in the peace and reconciliation process, in order to detect the objectives to be achieved by the projects. this context. The two groups involved; demobilized ex-combatants in the process of rejoining civil society and civil society, face different problems to be addressed. The demobilized are facing a lack of close social ties due to the impossibility of returning to their areas of origin and the aftermath of their passage through the conflict and the psychological trauma that this entails. This disconnection has generated a lack of life project and a lack of skills for life and for job incorporation. On the other hand, in civil society, power relations have been imposed by force and based on violence for many years and there is great difficulty in building a joint vision for the future through fear, insecurity, lack of trust and mutual denial, the social fabric has been destroyed.

The analysis of the problems and the challenges that Colombian society faces as a result of the lived experience, have made it possible to detect the objectives of the project based on the role that sport has as a tool for development and peace. Given the role of sport in peacebuilding, it is valued that if it is intended to promote projects that generate impact in the context of peace and reincorporation process, any initiative must include two axes of intervention: the implementation of strategies and activities that generate interaction and social cohesion through the social construction of peace, and the reconciliation and promotion of the reincorporated or victims of recruitment as civil subjects and actors of social change.


The long duration of the conflict has had a major impact on the organization of civil society, and sport has not been left out. The search for initiatives that work with sport as an essential element for the integration and training in values was fruitful, discovering interesting projects that allowed to value the way of working of the entities and the use of sport as a securities transmitter. Entities that have seen the need to unify efforts, where coordination and knowledge of the unique and complex context is of great value. It is for this reason that the need to go hand in hand with these entities identified in the proposed intervention is emphasized. Both the government and civil society have taken into account the power of sport in this area and have joined forces to increase the impact and efficiency of projects. We need to take advantage of these dynamics and the long experience they bring together.

The previous diagnosis of the context, the research work and analysis of the existing initiatives, the collaboration and participation of the local actors for a more careful approach to the reality of the country together with the experience of ADIC in the field of Sport for Development, allows to define a specific technical proposal of intervention through sport and physical activity in this context. The final report provides the tools to analyze a complex context and becomes a guide on how to set the objectives, strategies and actions of Sport for Development projects. Finally, a pilot test is proposed that meets all the conditions set out throughout the study and that could be carried out by the Catalan Directorate for Development Cooperation.





Sport as an instrument for the development of refugees and displaced persons

The official presentation of the reports will take place during the day “Sport and development cooperation. Support for refugees and the displaced population through recreational sports activity ”organized by the General Directorate of Development Cooperation together with the Catalan Sports Council of the Generalitat de Catalunya in Barcelona, on 10 January 2018 at the Colet Museum in Barcelona.



XV Blanquerna Sports Day

The management of sports projects for

to development and international cooperation

Presentation of the reports at the XV Blanquerna Sport Conference “The management of sports projects for development and international cooperation” on  November 29, 2018, at the Faculty of Psychology, Education and Sports Sciences Blanquerna-URL.

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