The social impact of the australia-africa 2006 sport development progammes active community clubs initiative

Por: Cora Burnett.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The aim of the research was to establish and assess the impact of the Active Community Clubs Initiative on two South African communities (one urban and one rural) where the Initiative was piloted to address the manifestations of chronic poverty through community-based clubs. Unemployed volunteers were trained to deliver the Sports Development Programme through the schools to the communities, and provided leadership for service delivery. Social indicators were developed to serve as a conceptual framework for the assesment of change from ‘base line data’.


The Sport Development Impact Assessment Tool (Burnett & Uys, 2001) was implemented to obtain multi-faceted and multi-level data at three six month-intervals from June 2002 to July 2003, representing the pre-, mid- and post-intervention phases of programme implementation. The methods included: i) structured interviews (n=39), ii) questionnaires (n=301); iii) focus group sessions (n=424); iv) case studies (n=31); and v) sport skill tests (n=299).


The unemployed volunteer coaches and administrators became a valuable resource for service delivery. ‘Social fabric crimes’ declined, and pro-social behaviour, including improved inter-personal social relations were reported. The development of ‘social capital’ and heightened self-esteem developed thorugh perceived success and recognition. Heightened levels of community awareness and group cohesion developed as new projects (gardening) and campaigns (needs’ survey conducted from door-to-door) were introduced through local initiatives and networking.


Sport participation and community based service delivery of needs-matched programmes have far-reaching social, moral and psychological benefits that meaningfully impact on community life and functioning.


[1]. Burnett, C. & Uys, T. (2000), Sport development impact assessment: towards a rationale and tool, S.A.Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation, 22(1):27-40.







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