LAUSANNE, Switzerland (November 8, 2018) – The first ever RESPONSIBALL Forum was held in Lausanne on November 8, 2018, bringing organisations and individuals convinced of the benefits of sports for refugees to share views and best practices in the field. THF and its parent organisation, World Taekwondo, were showcased as leaders among international sports federations that have started tapping into the enormous potential of sport for the inclusion, integration and protection of refugees.
Participating in a panel on organisational strategy alongside IOC’s Olympic Refuge Foundation, ITTF, FIBA, Swiss Football Association and Swiss Volley representatives, THF discussed how to evolve good intentions into concrete actions in the field, by working with local, qualified instructors and staff in projects where direct beneficiaries are included throughout the project cycle to facilitate feedback loops and guarantee the relevance of activities proposed to them.
The forum was a great opportunity for key players in the field of sport and refugees to share good practices, discuss challenges and define future cooperation in that area, while acknowledging that the current crisis of leadership and policy, rather than a refugee crisis per se, with only few organisations leading by example and being ready to commit fully to the cause by translating good intentions into concrete, measurable and sustainable actions.
A key recommendation that arose during the forum was that of recognising, utilising and developing refugee youth capacities and skills by allowing them to be part of the projects in a proactive role and addressing their individual needs, rather than standardising all beneficiaries into a one-size-fits-all ‘refugee youth’ category. Another valuable point made during the forum was from the organisational and policy-level perspective, where it was stated several times that organisations active in that field tended to work in silo yet should strive to complement each other’s initiatives.
The forum allowed to discuss several valuable resources and tools for facilitating the relevance of programming sport for refugees, such as the Sport for Protection Toolkit, a guide that aims at better understanding and implementing effective sport programmes for the protection and well-being of refugees and internally displaced young people, released a few weeks prior as a joint collaboration by the UNHCR, Terres des Hommes and the IOC. Other valuable resources discussed during the Forum included the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework portal developed with facilitation by the UNHCR, UEFA’s Good Practice Collection on Football and Refugees, or the website sportanddev.org‘s new section dedicated to showcasing sport for refugees projects, directly uploaded by project organisers.
The Forum concluded on a Call to Action for all organisations and individuals convinced of the contribution and enormous potential of leading by example and collaborate in using sport for inclusion and integration of refugees.