Interculturalism through Physical Activity and Sports in Cooperation for Development

By María Rato Barrio and Clemens Ley.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a result of critical reflection about the ambivalent nature of sport (it can promote inclusion as well as exclusion and violence), it becomes necessary to use this tool in cooperation for development according to certain methodological models carefully chosen, and applying clearly defined strategies according to the stated objectives. We propose in this paper a programme based on theoretical frameworks aimed to promote Intercultural living together through physical activity and sports. In this programme the active and participatory character played an important role, as well as the learning by playing, the abilities of the facilitators and the social-cultural appropriateness of the sessions.
In addition, we present some results of an extensive evaluation of the programme, combining quantitative and qualitative techniques. The programme was developed with 4 intervention groups (in total 100 regular participants, plus a control group of 557 persons) in Guatemalan post-conflict context, which is dominated by ethnical segregation and racism. Nevertheless, the proposed programme and model of intervention could be of great use in other studies and intercultural projects, within cooperation for development, and in the area of migration.
In spite of some limitations in research (small sample size of some subgroups) and intervention (limited duration of programme, irregular participation, lack of good facilities), the results showed some notable improvement in the affective-cognitive and behavioural components of tolerance regarding attitudes towards the diversity and in the intercultural phases, especially in developing decentring processes and comprehension. The promotion of inter-ethnic interaction, communication, trust, awareness of others and their cultures, the appreciation of one’s own culture, awareness of convergences, appreciation of cultural diversity, and reduction of prejudice have been responsible key factors for the changes. A longer duration of the programme is recommended to enhance the improvement in intercultural living together.

Keywords: Interculturalism, Culture, Racism, Sports, Cooperation for Development, Education, Evaluation

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.271-284. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 743.843KB).

Dr. María Rato Barrio

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Technical University of Madrid), Madrid, Madrid, Spain

She is a fellow at the Department of Cooperation for Development at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid – UPM (Technical University of Madrid), a member of the Advisory Council for Cooperation for Development, and teaches at this University. She finished her PhD at this University in 2009, and obtained the distinction of European Doctor (Doctor Europeus). Therefore, she stayed for research one year in Guatemala. She obtained a Degree in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (UPM), a Specialist Professional Degree in Latin American Studies and a Masters in Culture, Society and Development in Latin America, followed by a Masters in Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Aid. At the moment, she is completing her University degree in Social Anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia - UNED, Spain. Since 1999, she has been involved in field assessment, implementation, evaluation, research and coordination in different development projects, especially in Latin America and Africa.

Dr. Clemens Ley

Research coordinator (postdoc), Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sports Science and Development, ICESSD, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

He is research coordinator (postdoc) at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sports Science and Development (ICESSD), University of the Western Cape, South Africa. In 2009 he finished his PhD at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) with the thesis about: Psychosocial activity through movement, games and sports in context of violence and conflict, and obtained the distinction of European Doctor (Doctor Europeus). Before, he studied Sport Sciences at the German Sports University Cologne. He specialised in Prevention and Rehabilitation. Then he worked in several projects in Cooperation for Development, especially in Africa and Latin America and did a Masters in Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Aid. He mainly focuses on psychosocial aspects of health and community development, evaluation and research.