The Slovenia Times

Democratic Development through Sport



The Year 2005 was the United Nation's International Year of Sport and Physical Education. The aim was to promote the value of "Sport for All" within the areas of education, peace, health and development. The Sport Union of Slovenia and the ISCA (International Sport and Culture Organisation) are leading the "Sport for All" effort in the SEE countries and the new members of the EU. They aim to develop closer cooperation and coordination in the field of sport with all members. This would feature organising regular meetings, expert exchanges and forums amongst the members of the coordination group, as well as organising joint projects promoting "Sport for All." The ISCA supports a number of key projects in the former Yugoslavia aimed at aiding the peace and development process through sport. The ISCA has been working closely with the Sport Union of Slovenia (SUS) on identifying partner projects across the region, and is also involved in both the mid-term and final evaluations of the supported projects. Today, through its "Southeast Europe - Democratic Development through Sport" programme, the organization is creating links between sport institutions across the region and methods of healing the physical and psychological damage brought about by war. "We see Southeast Europe as a place where our support for projects can really make a difference," says Marvin Radford, ISCA's Resource Development Officer. "It is in situations like this that grassroots sport can help the healing process by bringing together formerly adversarial communities. The idea is to identify and support projects that further development and peace through sport. We examined a number of ventures, and it was tough to decide to which ones to offer support. There is plenty of will to make things happen, but it is important to channel resources in the right direction. Ultimately, we chose those that were open to all, were sustainable, and encouraged community involvement," he adds. In addition to supporting projects, ISCA and SUS have also been involved in promoting dialogue between communities. Examples include a major conference entitled "Cooperation of Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations in the Field of Sport for All Development," which took place in Belgrade in April 2005. Attended by over 60 representatives and speakers from across the region, the conference examined best-practice development strategies in people's sport, the financing of non-governmental organisations, and grassroots sport to promote health. As a result, an open network of organisations, groups and individuals is now in the process of being set up. In the future, this network should play a major role in the development of people's sport in the region. Plans are also underway for a follow-up conference in 2006 in Sarajevo. ISCA's work in Southeast Europe contributes to the fact that the organisation is increasingly being seen as a key player in the field of international development through sport. "The lessons learned in Southeast Europe will lead to best practice models in international development, which can then be applied to other developing regions across Europe and the world," concludes Marvin Radford. "We hope that valuable lessons will be learned." Seminars in SEE in 2006: - Quality criteria and management in Sport for All, Zagreb, 25th February 2006 - How to involve young people in Sport for All management, Ljubljana, 31st March 2006 - Sport for All as a basic element of democratic changes in sport in Serbia and Montenegro, Becej, from 3rd to 5th March 2006 - Development of sport for All on a local level, Macedonia, Skopje, from 7th to 9th April 2006 - The Tradition of Sport Festivals - the value of people gathering together, with the experience of the National Danish Performance Team, Belgrade and Ljubljana, May 2006 - Experiences and modern trends in the development of Sport for All in big cities, Sarajevo, June 2006 - Seminar for Sport for All leaders - Aerobic convention, Macedonia, September 2006 - Comparison of heart rate monitor and steps monitor, Belgrade, September 2006


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