More Sport and Less Poverty

Sport Matters Joins ICSSPE
10/02/2020 14:03

We sat down with one of ICSSPE’s latest members to discuss their current projects, goals and objectives for the ICSSPE membership. Jackie Lauff, CEO of Sport Matters, co-founded the NGO based in Sydney, Australia, in 2011 with the purpose to realize their vision of a world with ‘More Sport and Less Poverty’.


Sport Matters aims to make a positive and long-lasting impact on development in Australia and developing countries with a focus on the Pacific, Asia and Africa.


ICSSPE: What are Sport Matters’ values?


Jackie: Our values form the Sport Matters ethos:

Sustainability – a long-term commitment to social change
Participation – building communities through active participation of individuals and families
Opportunity – creating opportunities for individuals, communities and organisations through sport
Respect – and learning from the values and culture of the people we work with and for
Tenacity – in advocating for human rights through a relentless belief in the power of sport


ICSSPE: Can you tell us about your ongoing projects?


Jackie: Sport Matters is very active in a range of programmes and services, and we work closely with partner organisations around the world to deliver on our mission of ‘More Sport and Less Poverty’. Sport Matters has delivered sport for development projects in many developing country contexts including: Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Fiji, Laos, South Africa, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.


We are strong advocates for sport for development and you will often find us speaking up at various conferences and events, celebrating International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6, and also encouraging and supporting our partners to speak up and work together to raise the voice for sport at the policy level and also at the project level.


We offer technical assistance to governments, civil society organisations, sport federations and other partners. For example, we have supported regional partners in the design and development of a Pacific Sport, Physical Activity and Physical Education (SPAPE) Action Plan 2019 – 2030 and facilitated two Pacific Regional Sports Policy Roundtables in Vanuatu and Samoa. We assisted the Fiji Associated of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) to design and deliver an inclusive sports day to celebrate Olympic Day Run with over 500 people with disabilities and their families, and designed a Fiji Inclusive Sports Framework for the Fiji Paralympic Committee. We also recently helped ChildFund Australia with a technical review and recommendations for improved disability inclusion practices in their new ChildFund Pass It Back programme.


In the Pacific, we work closely with a range of partners and key stakeholders to raise the profile of sport as a public policy priority, and also build the capacity of civil society organisations to engage and influence regional policy. For many years Sport Matters has partnered with the University of the South Pacific (USP) and delivered a range of innovative actions through research, scholarships, conferences and policy forums. We have also helped USP to strengthen teaching and learning in Physical Education and from next year students from twelve Pacific Island Countries will be able to enrol in a Major of Physical Education for the first time. We have also worked closely with USP to develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Quality Physical Education in the Pacific next month which is an exciting new development!


ICSSPE: What are Sport Matters’ future plans and goals?


Jackie: We are in the process of reviewing and revising our Sport Matters Strategic Plan. Given the disruption and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, like many other NGOs around the world, we are forced to be flexible, responsible, innovative and agile in this time of enormous change. In the short-term we expect to see ongoing limitations with travel and face-to-face programme delivery and capacity development, so we will pivot towards webinars, e-learning platforms and new ways of making a positive and long-lasting impact through sport together with our partners around the world. One of the new projects we are working on, is a regional initiative in the Pacific aimed at strengthening Sports Integrity and Diplomacy in partnership with the Oceania National Olympic Committees.


ICSSPE: How has the current situation with COVID-19 impacted Sport Matters?


Jackie: The COVID-19 has made a huge impact on our activities in the last two quarters and also our projected activities in the coming year ahead. Our hearts go out to our partners and colleagues around the world who are in places still struggling to get COVID-19 under control and to those whose families have been directly affected. For our team we have had to remain grounded working from home, and like many others the world is now viewed through Zoom video conferences for the foreseeable future. We are also working with our colleagues in the Pacific to share and document the diverse experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary protocols needed to facilitate a safe return to sport in a post-COVID world.


ICSSPE: What can the ICSSPE membership jointly do to help in this context?


Jackie: We look forward to sharing our progress and achievements with ICSSPE and its members, and to collaborating on projects of shared value in the future - particularly across networking, research and advocacy.


ICSSPE: What are you most excited about regarding the ICSSPE membership?


Jackie: I am most enthusiastic about having more regular contact with ICSSPE’s membership, learning the latest innovations and developments particularly related to sport for development and some of our areas of interest like sports policy development, physical education, social inclusion, sports integrity and diplomacy, and research.