Grassroots Sport Diplomacy Pilot Actions complete – and we present some of the first case studies


In 2018, ISCA and the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy partners offered an opportunity for up to seven organisations to test a grassroots sport diplomacy initiative by establishing partnerships that would carry out actions across borders.

The partnership supported, facilitated, monitored and evaluated the seven Grassroots Sport Diplomacy pilot actions, which included specific interventions like policy exchanges, new partnership approaches, and event-based collaboration.

Six of the initiatives were selected by the project partners, and the seventh was selected through an open call for applications. Each started their pilot action in November 2018 and completed it before the official launch event at the MOVE Congress in Budapest, from 16-18 October 2019.

The selected initiatives were:

  • Vivicittà Lebanon, by UISP, Italy
  • Training physical activity leaders in multicultural environments, by UBAE, Spain
  • Mulheres em Campo | Mujeres en campo | Women on the field, by SESC, Brazil
  • Building relations between Hungary and Colombia through grassroots sport, by Hungarian National School, University and Leisure Sport Federation (NSULF), Hungary
  • We Welcome Young Refugees, by Royal Europa ‘90 Kraainem Football Club, Belgium
  • Build Bridges through Sport, by TAKT, Macedonia (selected through open call)
  • Removing Barriers to Sport: harnessing best practice to ensure youth sport is inclusive, accessible and fun, by Youth Sport Trust, UK

The pilot actions needed to follow the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy principles outlined in the document ‘Overview, Mapping and Definition’, and address the following aims to:

  • Test existing or new interventions that are coordinated by the partners or selected organisations.
  • Implement activities/events/meetings and monitor them in terms of the time taken and the cost to carry them out.
  • Help refine and explore whether the initiative could become a full-scale Grassroots Sport Diplomacy action that is rolled out beyond the pilot period and the original geographic or demographic scope.
  • Help to determine if there is a need for spending more time or resources on particular aspects of the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy activities.
  • The pilot action could highlight any necessary adjustments to implementation, monitoring and evaluation plan of future similar initiatives.

Each pilot action was an experimentation to enable small scale Grassroots Sport Diplomacy activities and their development between two or more international stakeholders. The pilot action involved planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating of the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy action and was based on one (or more) of the principles described below.

  • Transfer or sharing of successful practices through international technical cooperation: Implemented as initiatives that seek to share experiences and good practices through the mediation of government and/or international organisations with a view to promoting and enabling grassroots sport, physical activity and social development.
  • Transfer or sharing of successful practices through non-governmental partnerships: Implemented as initiatives that seek to share experiences and good practices implemented by civil society organisations with a view to promoting enabling grassroots sport, physical activity and social development. These initiatives are implemented using a bottom-up approach.
  • International campaigns or events as tools to promote grassroots sport values and specific agendas: Campaigns and events that are geared towards promoting grassroots sport values such as democracy, social engagement and equality, which also have the potential to bring specific issues to the fore, such as gender, integration of refugees, inclusion of and opportunities for indigenous populations, etc.
  • Multi-sector networks for the exchange of successful practices and/or advocacy: Network-based activities implemented through multi-sector cooperation focusing on grassroots sport- or physical activity-related topics that can lead to the scalability of sport and physical activity initiatives and foster interest or international mobilisation.

The financial contribution to the Pilot Action implementation from the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project was a maximum of €5000. Each pilot action coordinator was offered an opportunity to present their initiatives and experiences in a poster presentation at the MOVE Congress 2019 in Budapest from 16-18 October, and four pilots were selected to present in a track dedicated to Grassroots Sport Diplomacy on 17 October.

You can find the case studies from the completed pilots on the Resources and In Practice pages.