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Uncovering barriers to ‘sports for social inclusion’

Andreas Karpati
UNDP Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan

Community Outreach Specialist (Community Outreach / Education)

Workshop with students to identify problems and relevant causes for under participation of school students in local sports programmes


Development Fund of Children’s Sport Under the Ministry of Public Education in Uzbekistan was concerned that despite a large-scale investment programme into sports complexes, the use of these facilities has been below expectations, especially outside Tashkent.

The Children’s Sports Fund is particularly concerned about the participation of girls from rural areas in sports, who often miss out on the benefits of doing sports due to a lack of parental awareness, encouragement or even permission. Despite major investments into infrastructure and programmes guaranteeing free access to sports facilities, how do we get people to use the facilities?


Why we used the tool

We organised a workshop on social innovation with young citizens – students from a local partner university, focused on the ‘sport for social inclusion’. Promising project proposals that come out of this, were eligible to be considered for a small grant award of up to $1,500. While making these project proposals, we used a number of tools such as Target Group, Personas to think about the users and Problem Definition, Causes Diagram to think about possible problems and solutions.

The tools were chosen along three main criteria:

  1. Suitability for a small-scale volunteer project without commercial elements.
  2. Applicable for an early, pre-prototyping stage of the social innovation process (emphasis on ideation, problem definition, working out users).
  3. Can be carried out in less than an hour in a classroom/workshop setting.



How we used the tool

We used Problem Definition and Causes Diagram in a workshop to help encourage students think more broadly about the problem, and possible solutions. However, it was only after encouraging students to ask successive ‘why’ questions that the exercise really led to new insights. Often they would jump ahead without identifying more nuances and identify ‘economic problems’ or ‘traditions’ as second-order causes. Once encouraged to be more specific however, they found interesting and sometimes unexpected causes for low participation in sports, including for example the fear of injuries (in conjunction with low standards of health services) or lack of street lighting (in conjunction with safety concerns).


Results of using the tool

The Problem Definition tool aids to define and to realise more deeply a certain problem and the Causes Diagram helps collect all factors and causes of a certain problem to be able to tackle it. Using the tools helped to familiarise ourselves with the problem and root out actionable causes, some of which were unexpected and new to us.

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