Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS - By Caranissa Djat­miko For more in­for­ma­tion on Uni Pa­pua please visit www.uni­papua.net

Sport­ing a Change

The “sport for de­vel­op­ment” sec­tor is com­prised of ini­tia­tives that ad­dress a wide range of so­cial is­sues. In In­done­sia, the foot­ball com­mu­nity Uni Pa­pua serves to en­sure that the younger gen­er­a­tion is well taken care of.

For­mer UN Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral Kofi An­nan once said that “sport has the power to change the world.” In 2001, the No­bel lau­re­ate ap­pointed Adolf Ogi, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Swiss Con­fed­er­a­tion, as his spe­cial ad­viser for sports, de­vel­op­ment and peace. Since then, the idea of us­ing sports as a medium to cre­ate so­cial change be­came prac­ticed by many or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The UN de­cided to make this even more of­fi­cial in Au­gust of 2013 by declar­ing April 6 as the In­ter­na­tional Day of Sport and De­vel­op­ment for Peace. The day was meant to re­mind peo­ple that the true spirit of sport lies in its abil­ity to fos­ter peace and de­vel­op­ment. There­fore, it en­cour­ages them to en­gage in the ac­tiv­ity and sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tions and grass­roots projects that hold the same mis­sion.

From large in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies like Nike, Bar­clays and Stan­dard Char­tered, to lo­cal NGOs and civil-so­ci­ety groups, or­ga­ni­za­tions in­volved in the sport and de­vel­op­ment sec­tor have started their own ini­tia­tives or funded projects that aim to re­spond to press­ing so­cial is­sues like poverty, lack of ed­u­ca­tion and ju­ve­nile delin­quency.

In Aus­tralia, for ex­am­ple, the sport for de­vel­op­ment sec­tor re­lies on the na­tion’s tra­di­tional net­ball game to pro­mote in­clu­siv­ity by pro­vid­ing funds for the Pa­cific Sports Part­ner­ships. Through the pro­gramme, the gov­ern­ment wishes to en­cour­age more par­tic­i­pa­tion in sports by women and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties.

In South Africa, a grass­roots ini­tia­tive led by the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion ( NBA) pro­vided lo­cals with more access to the game by organizing train­ings and cre­at­ing a space for in­ter­ac­tions be­tween young lo­cals and mem­bers of the NBA teams.

In In­dia, UNICEF finds a so­lu­tion in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties to help chil­dren over­come trauma from vi­o­lence, sep­a­ra­tion and dis­place­ment.

Here in the ar­chi­pel­ago, a lo­cal foot­ball or­ga­ni­za­tion has paved the way for young peo­ple to be­come the best ver­sion of them­selves. Uni Pa­pua was ini­tially es­tab­lished in 2013 to ad­dress the is­sues of drugs, un­der­age drink­ing and promis­cu­ity among the younger gen­er­a­tion. Aside from youth de­vel­op­ment, the or­ga­ni­za­tion also came up with pro­grammes that fo­cus on HIV/Aids pre­ven­tion, gen­der equal­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness.

In an interview with In­done­sia Ex­pat, Dewi Sulisty­owati, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Uni Pa­pua said that foot­ball has be­come “an ide­ol­ogy” in Pa­pua. From the World Cup sta­dium to slum ar­eas in de­vel­op­ing na­tions, foot­ball is of­ten her­alded as the ul­ti­mate sport ac­tiv­ity, fre­quently played by peo­ple com­ing from all walks of life. Its uni­fy­ing na­ture has been rec­og­nized as a sharp tool for mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, and Uni Pa­pua ac­cord­ingly re­lies on this qual­ity to at­tract more par­tic­i­pa­tion from the younger gen­er­a­tion.

In In­done­sia, the foot­ball com­mu­nity

Uni Pa­pua serves to en­sure that the younger gen­er­a­tion is well taken care of.”

Uni Pa­pua cur­rently has around 50 branches out­side Pa­pua, in­clud­ing one in Bali and an­other in Banda Aceh, which also seek to nur­ture the younger gen­er­a­tion across the ar­chi­pel­ago. It also has branches in for­eign coun­tries like the US, Ja­pan and Bri­tain. The or­ga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to part­ner with lo­cal gov­ern­ments, com­pa­nies and also the me­dia to run its pro­grammes.

De­spite the sup­port that Uni Pa­pua has gained from lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional part­ners, Sulisty­owati thinks that In­done­sia still needs to have more sport for de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives.

“The gov­ern­ment only fo­cuses on the achieve­ments made by sport or­ga­ni­za­tions and [sport in In­done­sia] is still com­pe­ti­tion-ori­ented. They have yet to de­velop the broader as­pects of sport it­self, which are con­cerned with many ar­eas like cul­ture, tourism and most im­por­tantly so­cial change,” Sulisty­owati re­veals.

Fur­ther, the chal­lenges that are faced by sport for de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions are of­ten con­cerned with time and mak­ing sure that what they do is sus­tain­able. When it comes down to ful­fill­ing the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment agenda, these or­ga­ni­za­tions must learn to in­ter­act with ex­ter­nal par­ties, such as fun­ders and pol­i­cy­mak­ers that might not al­ways agree with the plans or pro­grammes that they have.

At the end of the day, there should be a col­lec­tive aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing that what they are do­ing is in fact worth­while.

For this rea­son, Sulisty­owati hopes that In­done­sia would be­come more aware of the power of sport to bring peo­ple to­gether, and soon di­vert its at­ten­tion from the in­dus­try to the de­vel­op­men­tal side of sport.

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