Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings

Manual and Guideline
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I. The Warm-Up: What is this toolkit about?

Over the past decade, millions of people have fled, and continue to flee, their homes in search of safety from conflict, violence, persecution and human rights violations. Amongst these, refugees cross international borders, arriving in dedicated refugee camps or, more frequently, remote rural communities, small towns and urban centres, many of which are already struggling with poverty and other development challenges. Others are uprooted within their own countries and become internally displaced.

Young people—comprised of adolescents (aged 10–19 years) and youth (aged November 2016 and May 2017: 15–24 years)—make up a large proportion of the more than 68 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) worldwide. They remain underserved largely because (a) they fall between the gaps in programmes aimed at younger children and adults, and (b) their needs are often poorly understood. In addition to the numerous inherent challenges related to the journey from childhood to adulthood, many of these young people live with the additional stress and anxiety that come with being forcibly displaced, including: violence and neglect; deep personal loss; disruptions to their educational, economic and social activities; and the daily challenges of adapting to new and often increasingly difficult lives.

When large numbers of people are forced together through circumstances beyond their control such as war and conflict, it is common for both displaced and host communities to face increased personal conflict, psychological distress and isolation. It is now widely believed that sport and physical exercise can play an important role in combating some of the challenges of forced displacement by enhancing the protection, well-being and social development of young people from both communities. This belief has led the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Terre des hommes (Tdh) to collaborate on the following Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings.

This toolkit represents the next step in an ongoing collaboration that aims to better understand the role that sport can play in the protection and well-being of refugee and internally displaced young people. It builds on more than 20 years of work between UNHCR and the International Olympic Committee to bring sport to some of the world’s most disadvantaged young people. In September 2017, the IOC, supported closely by UNHCR, launched the Olympic Refuge Foundation. The goal is to harness the power of sport to strengthen the protection, development and empowerment environments for vulnerable children and youth.

This Sport for Protection Toolkit will guide the work of the Olympic Refuge Foundation and will be used by a broad cross-section of organisations and stakeholders to better understand and implement effective Sport for Protection programming.