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Dr Dean Ravizza The Uses Of Sport For Children In Armed Conflict


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  • 1. The Uses of Sport for Children in Armed Conflict
    Findings From The SCYACS Research Project
    Dean M. Ravizza, Ph.D.
    Dept. of Health & Human Performance
    Salisbury University, Maryland USA
    Power of Sport Summit
    Center for Sport in Society Northeastern University
    June 10-12, 2010
  • 2. What is SCYACS?
    Long-term research project in conflict-affected region of northern Uganda.
    Use both mid-scale surveys and in-depth interviews and ethnographic data.
    Dedicated to bringing new data, tools, and analysis to the SDP field.
    Utilizes local, trained research team to gather quantitative and qualitative data.
  • 3. The Conflict in Northern Uganda
    Nearly twenty-three years of conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan Government Forces (UPDF).
    An estimated 66,000 children and youth were abducted for various periods of time1.
    Approximately 2 million were placed in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
    The region is in transition from conflict to a focus on peace and stability.
    1SWAY(2006). Survey of War-Affected Youth. Retrieved from, October 15, 2009.
  • 4. Source: Google maps
  • 5. Why do we do this?[SCYACS Research Objectives]
    The purpose of the research is to:
    determine the participatory levels of children and youth in sport activities,
    understand the role of sport in the development2 of children affected by armed conflict, and
    identify factors related to sport that impact the social inclusion of marginalized groups.
    identify factors of sport participation that affect the reintegration process of former abductees (children formerly associated with the LRA).
    2As outline by the Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace. U.N. (2003). This includes physical, emotional, social, and
    economic development.
  • 6. What Did We Do/How Did We Do It?[Methodology]
    Data Collection
    Phase One: Observational research intermittently over 18 month period.
    Phase Two: Pilot survey (n=109) in Gulu and Kitgum districts.
    Phase Three: Survey instrument implemented (n=411) in Gulu and Kitgum districts.
    Phase Four: Follow up interviews and further qualitative waves.
    Phase Five: In-depth longitudinal case studies of selected survey participants.
  • 7. What Did the Children and Youth Say?[Results]
    The results are framed around four major
    categories reflective of the research objectives:
    Participation in/Access to sport programs.
    Sport and aspects of development (physical, social, and economic).
    Sport and social inclusion (females, individuals with disabilities).
    Sport and the reintegration of children and youth formerly associated with the LRA.
  • 8. What is it about football that lends itself to such high rates of participation?
  • 9. Participation in/Access to Sport
    Number of non-participants n=51
  • 10. Sport and Aspects of Development
    Respondents who participated in sport programs sponsored by NGO’s, UN, and Community-based programs agreed the programs educated them about:
    Respondents disagreed that sports educated them about:
    Child Rights
    Peace &
    Conflict Resolution
    Gender balance
    Early sexual activity
    Drug abuse
  • 11. Sport and Aspects of Development
    Sport and Economic Development Sub-Scale
    M=1.37, Chronbach’s Alpha (α)=.822
    Strongly agree (+2), Agree (+1), Disagree (-1), Strongly Disagree (+2)
  • 12. Sport and Aspects of Development
    “Sport can do a lot of things for my generation if well-developed. If sports in Uganda is developed…it would help create employment and it can also lead to infrastructural development such as building of hotels and stadiums….”
    -Male, 16 (080K)
    “Work-place values can only manifest in sport when there is good cooperation and understanding in the team.” –Male, 20 (018G).
    “I do not value sports much since I know that sport will not help me have a living in the future.” Male, 20 (087K).
    “Sporting programs help me in the way that during sporting hours in the evening, I don’t find access of going to boys and men hence helping me from acquiring HIV/AIDS.” -Female, 15 (106G)
  • 13. Sport and Social Inclusion
    SII34. Participants agreed (M=1.36) that individuals with disabilities should be allowed to participate in sport.
    SII35. Participants agreed (M=1.77) that females should be allowed to participate in sport activities.
    SII36. Both former (M=-1.52) and non-abductees (M=-1.42) felt it was not acceptable to exclude former abductees from playing sport.
    +2=strongly agree, =1=agree, -1=disagree, -2=strongly disagree
  • 14. Sport and Social Inclusion
    “In school, we are mixed up with pupils from different regions and tribes. So, sports has educated me to accept those tribes because we play together.” -Female, 14 (030G)
    “I strongly disagree that people with disability should participate in sport, especially those with no legs and arms since they cannot manage to run and kick or catch the ball.” –Male, 14 (131G).
    “[The] disabled are human beings like us, they have been created by God. Jesus said you should love your neighbor as you love yourself.” -Male, 14 (111G).
    “Girls should be allowed to play [sports] so that they [adults] can learn that gender disparities is an issue to be tackled in the schools for a positive environment for the girl-child education.” -Female, 14 (014G).
    “Sports makes girls prostitutes and they will not be able to help their parents.” - Male, 16 (009G).
  • 15.
  • 16. List of References
    Betancourt, T.S., & Khan, K.T. (2008). The mental health of children affected by armed conflict: Protective processes and pathways to resilience. International Review of Psychiatry, 20 (3), 317-328.
    Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723-742.
    Ennis, C.D., Solmon, M.A., Satina, B., Loftus, S.J., Mensch, J., & McCauley, M.T. (1999). Creating a sense of family in urban schools using the “sport for peace” curriculum. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 70 (3), 273-299.
    Larsen, R. (2000). Toward a psychology of positive youth development. American Psychologist,55(1), 170-183.
    Machel, G. (2001). The impact of war on children. New York: Palgrave.
    McEvoy-Levy, S. (2006). Troublemakers or peacemakers? Youth and post-accord peace building. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
    McEvoy-Levy, S. (2006). Silenced voices? Youth and peer relationships in armed conflict and its aftermath. In N. Boothby, A. Strang, & M. Wessells, A world turned upside down: Social ecological approaches to children in war zones. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.
    Singer, P.W. (2005). Children at war. New York: Pantheon.
    Sommers, M. (2005). Youth and conflict: A toolkit for intervention. Washington, DC: USAID.
    SWAY (2006). Survey of War-Affected Youth. Retrieved from, September 26, 2009.
    United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace (2003). SWAY (2006). Survey of War-Affected Youth. Retrieved from, September 26, 2009.
    Sport for development and peace: Towards achieving the millennium development
    Goals. New York: United Nations, p. 2-3.
    UNICEF (2007). The Paris principles: Principles and guidelines on children associated with armed forces or armed groups. New York: United Nations, pp.37-40.
    Wessells (2006). Child Soldiers: From violence to protection. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.
  • 17. Thank You!
  • 18. The Uses of Sport for Children in Armed Conflict
    Findings From The SCYACS Research Project
    Dean M. Ravizza, Ph.D.
    Dept. of Health & Human Performance
    Salisbury University, Maryland USA