On Sunday 8 August, the Olympic flag was officially handed over to the organizers of the future Paris 2024 Olympic Games, following two weeks of competition in Tokyo marked by a record participation rate of female athletes (48.6%).
For Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group, sport is a powerful vehicle for peace and social inclusion. Its objective is to promote community sport, which in particular contributes to women’s empowerment and self-esteem. It has made Sport for All one of the pillars of its action by committing over €48 million for 20 projects in 2019 and 2020.
For Basketball in Africa with the NBA and the Basketball Africa League
Basketball is one of the team sports where diversity is the most respected and many of the inherent values of the Sustainable Development Goals circulate. By signing a partnership with the NBA in Africa in 2018, AFD wanted to change the perception of the continent and open up new horizons there for the world of sport.
This partnership has led to the launch of a program for awareness-raising and education through basketball in five African countries. “Basketball Experience” is already up and running in Morocco with the construction of an “AFDxNBA” ground in Zenata, in the suburbs of Casablanca. This program, which uses basketball to teach life skills (gender equality, citizenship…) and raise awareness of sustainable development issues, is implemented in schools and on the ground. The program is also currently being launched in Nigeria and Senegal, ahead of Kenya and South Africa in 2022.
AFD Group is also a partner of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), the first professional basketball league launched by the NBA outside North America. The objective of AFD and the BAL is to promote access to education, well-being and inclusion for girls and women.
Football to Promote Equality Between Girls and Boys With FIFA
To empower women and girls and fight against the discriminatory practices and attitudes that they face, FIFA and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are financing the “Championnes” program, which is being run by the NGO Plan International France. Its objective is to promote leadership among girls and gender equality through football in a safe environment, namely at school.
The various projects under the Championnes program are being developed in Benin, Togo and Guinea. The expected outcomes include capacity-building and bolstering confidence in 5,390 girls by giving them the chance to work together towards a common goal. The girls and women, aged between 12 and 24, will be given the opportunity to play football in refurbished facilities that are properly equipped, enabling both genders to share the space harmoniously. Leaders from 180 community organizations will also receive support as part of the program.
Further reading: Championnes: Football for Gender Equality in Africa
Creating Social Cohesion With “Playdagogy”
To promote education through sport and strengthen social cohesion from a very early age, AFD works with French civil society organizations, such as Play International, a registered charity accredited by the Ministry of Sport.
In Burundi, Senegal, Liberia and Kosovo, Play International uses its “Playdagogy” to help maintain young people in the education system through sport and build social cohesion for the reconstruction of the country. In Mayotte, the NGO is implementing an education and sport project which is contributing to the fight against discrimination.
Further reading: 5 Unsuspected Benefits of Sport
A Global Coalition for the Development of Sport
A broad-based Sport for Development Coalition, initiated by AFD Group, was launched in November 2020 during the first international Finance in Common Summit. It has committed to scale up the financial resources, investments and expertise in this field, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
In practical terms, this ambition has led to the launch of the Sport en Commun platform, a pan-African program that aims to improve the dialogue between the worlds of sport and development finance. It provides a wide range of financing tailored to all project sizes and from several types of public and private financing structures.
Projects that Have a Positive Impact with Paris 2024
In 2020, AFD and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Organization Committee signed a partnership for an innovative incubation program for athletes-entrepreneurs. This year, the program has already led to a first class of 26 top athletes, 10 in France and 16 in Africa, who want to promote projects in their countries that address societal issues such as inclusion, integration, gender equality, health, education and environmental protection.
Based on their values of commitment, the skills they acquire throughout their sporting careers and their power to mobilize, the program aims to give them the tools to have a positive impact at their level. They include Sarah Hanffou, a Cameroonian table tennis player whose project aims to promote access to sport for girls, Aby Gaye, a Senegalese basketball player who aims to organize basketball camps on the theme of confidence and self-esteem, and Roger Amegbeto, a Togolese swimmer who wants to build the first swimming pool open to the public in Togo and promote swimming and the benefits of sport for health.
Further reading: Global Sports Week 2021: Entrepreneurship in Sports