The city centre of Johannesburg, historically the heart of the city's economic activity, has seen a sharp decline since the 1970s: many buildings were abandoned, public spaces were left in decline and the crime rate rose sharply. This is particularly visible in public parks. Since the 2000s, the regeneration of the city centre is a municipal priority, and the city council has designed a strategy called "Safe Community Parks in the Inner City", to rehabilitate these spaces and make them accessible to the public.
In South Africa, the practice of organized sport is weak and research shows that children living in unsafe neighbourhoods such as inner-city Johannesburg do not practice any physical activity outside school.
The project aims to strengthen social cohesion in the city centre of Johannesburg through the participative organization of sports and leisure activities in nine public parks.
Since 2017, SSCN has been working with Johannesburg City Park and Zoo (JCPZ) to organize sports and recreational activities in Johannesburg's inner city parks, with a pilot project in two parks The lessons learned from this pilot phase allow SSCN to extend this project to nine new additional parks in the city center. In addition, SSCN will: launch a mobile activation activity through an equipped van that will reach disadvantaged areas farther away from the city centre; recruit and train 18 sports coordinators from the neighborhoods concerned and provide the necessary means for the organization of sports activities.
The AFD grant will also enable SSCN to develop its activities as a network of associations promoting social cohesion through sport in Johannesburg and Africa, and to engage in peer exchanges with French organizations.
- Activation of parks in inner-city Johannesburg: refurbishment of public spaces in the city, increased use of public spaces by residents, reduction of crime in and around the parks, and commitment of young coaches to professional and civic life;
- Increased sports and recreational activity in groups: improvement of physical health and self-confidence, sense of social belonging and social cohesion;
- Improvement of SSCN practices by exchanges with French organizations experienced in the use of sport as a vector of social cohesion in urban areas.
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