PPI Director of Operations Tal Alter recently participated in a workshop with Latin American sports for development practitioners. Below he shares his thoughts on the experience:
On Friday, June 17, I had the opportunity to represent PPI on a panel at the Inter-American Development Bank as part of a workshop and exchange with 13 sports for development practitioners from Colombia and Ecuador. Organized by Partners of the Americas and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s SportsUnited office, the workshop allowed for the panelists, which also included representatives from D.C. Scores, League of Dreams, The Grassroot Project, and Ganamos Todos, to share experiences and best practices for connecting with at-risk and disabled youth and implementing sport for development programs in a wide range of contexts.
Following the large group discussion, the panelists and practitioners broke into small groups for more focused conversations on specific challenges and implementation methodologies. The topics of these smaller conversations ran the gamut – from approaches to using sport as a tool for peacebuilding and gang/violence prevention, to training young participants to be future programmatic leaders and encouraging girls and young women to participate in sports programs in communities where such activity is not encouraged.
Despite significant cultural differences between these Latin American countries and those of PPI’s sites, the easy dialogue I felt with the practitioners (aided by interpreters, of course) demonstrated to me the kinship of sport for youth development programs, regardless of geography or method of implementation. Though we have yet to work directly with our sport for development brothers and sisters in Latin America, the workshop left me encouraged that such future collaboration can and will happen. The day provided a great learning experience for me and PPI, and I look forward to a continuing dialogue with our new friends from Colombia and Ecuador.