||49 Practical Activities and Methods for Human
Rights Education > Sport for all
Sport for all
"It is a bad game where nobody wins."
|| Sport, Discrimination
and Xenophobia, Health
||This is a high-energy activity. Participants use their imagination
and creativity to design new games. The issues addressed include:
- Rules of games, their justification and monitoring
- The idea of human rights as rules for living
- Discrimination in sports
- The right to helath
- Equality in dignity and rights
- To raise awareness of social and political exclusion
from sporting activities
- To develop group-work and co-operative skills and creativity
- To encourage people to think about human rights as
rules for fair play in life
||You will need one set of the following for each group of
- 4 large buckets or waste-paper bins
- 1 ball of thick string
- 2 football-sized balls
- 2 newspapers
- One piece of chalk
- A pair of scissors
- Tell participants about the "Sport for all" movement.
Say that, to mark the millennium, the National Sports Council
has decided to hold a competition to invent a new game which
can be played by all.
- Ask people to get into groups of four.
- Explain that each group has twenty minutes to devise a game
using the equipment provided. It is up to each group to decide
the aims of the new game and the rules.
- Let the groups play each other's games.
Debriefing and evaluation
Start with a review of how people in the different groups interacted
with each other and whether they enjoyed the activity. Then go
on to discuss the games themselves and the rules people invented
and, finally, talk about sports and games in real life.
- Was it hard to design a game?
- How did the groups work? Democratically or did one person
make all the decisions?
- Did you share the jobs? I.e. was one person an ideas person,
another good at putting the ideas into a practical form, someone
else good at setting the game up, etc.?
- Which games did people enjoy the most? What makes a game
a "good game"?
- Which groups found it necessary to change the rules once
they tried the game out with others? Why did they need to change
the rules and how did they do it? (Was the process carried out
by the whole group, by just a few individuals or by just one
- How important is it to have a clear aim and fair rules in
order for everyone to feel that they can participate?
- Did everyone feel able to participate fully, or did some
feel that they were at an advantage or disadvantage?
- In reality, how are certain groups excluded from sports?
Which modes of exclusion are infringements of people's human
- The Articles in the UDHR could be seen as rules for living
in a pluralistic world. Are they good rules? For instance, are
they universally acceptable to all players (everyone throughout
the world)? Are there enough rules or too many? Are the rules
fair? Do all players (all countries) play by the rules?
Tips for facilitators
Try to ensure that the groups are "mixed", for example,
tall and short people, those with glasses and those without, a
mix of genders, ages, athletic abilities, etc.
Depending on the group, you may need to begin the session with
a brainstorm about games in general. For example, that games need
to have clear aims or objectives and rules.
You may need to set limits, for example, that the game must
be played within a certain location or not last longer than a
total of twenty minutes. If they find design faults as their games
are being played, let the designers of the game change the rules.
The discussion can be linked to human rights in various ways.
You can consider the similarities and differences between rules
and human rights. Good rules, like human rights, exist to ensure
the game is fair by limiting the use of power by some players
over others. The rules have to apply to all players in the same
way that human rights are universal. Many rules prescribe a right
together with duties. For instance, a football player has the
right to kick the ball but not a fellow player. There are penalties
in the case of an abuse of the rules.
The process of making decisions about changing the rules can
be compared with how laws are changed in "real life".
Are they changed by decree, by the legislature or by people through
referenda or consultation with NGOs and others?
In the debriefing, people may say that exclusion and discrimination
are not really big issues because people tend to choose sports
that they are naturally good at. For example, tall people may
play basketball and less energetic types may play snooker or chess.
Nonetheless, there is an issue if only those young people who
show promise get all the attention and opportunities to play in
competitions while those who like to play for fun get less. Some
sports exclude on grounds of wealth, because, for example, they
need expensive equipment or coaching.
You may like to tell the group about the Street Sports project,
an initiative with young people in the Balkans that is promoting
tolerance and human rights (see the background
information on sport and human rights).
If you want to use this activity primarily
to promote group-work skills you could ask one group to devise
a co-operative game and the other a competitive one. In the debriefing
you can compare how enjoyable each game was.
Suggestions for follow-up
If people want to play more games, then they may like to play
"Me too" in
the all different all equal education pack. It could be a good
way to start people thinking more deeply about appreciating uniqueness
and diversity as a prerequisite for accepting the equality.
If the group are interested in exploring other issues of equality,
they may like to do the activity "Path
to Equality-land", which explores issues about gender
Ideas for action
Organise a co-operative "Sports day". Invite young
people from other clubs to play your new games. The group will
have to decide how to make the event as inclusive as possible.
"Sport for All' is a movement promoting the Olympic ideal
that sport is a human right for all individuals regardless of
race, social class and sex. The movement encourages sports activities
that can be practised by people of all ages, of both sexes and
of different social and economic conditions.www.olympic.org/ioc/e/org/sportall