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Indian girls playing netball
The ASOP India promotes inclusion and gender sensitivity to improve the lives of marginalised individuals and communities.

In March 2013 the Australian Sports Commission – through the Australian Sports Outreach program (ASOP), commissioned the production of a video on Development through Sport, based on the diverse and dynamic work being undertaken in India. The film highlights sport as a proven tool in mitigating inequities in the accessibility and availability of basic rights for millions of children.

This video visually represents how sport is contributing to key development outcomes under the themes of education, social cohesion, health, disability, gender inclusion and social change.

Overview of Australian Sports Outreach Program

The Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) is an Australian Government initiative. ASOP aims to increase the capacity of partners (local authorities, development partners, agencies and communities) to plan and conduct quality, sports-based activities which contribute to addressing locally identified development priorities. The program started in 2006 and is currently delivered in the Pacific, Caribbean, Southern Africa and India.

ASOP India Sport for Development

ASOP India is a five-year Australian Government initiative implemented by the Australian Sports Commission that involves a commitment of AUD$5 million until 2014. Drawing on Australia’s emphasis on excellence in sports, the program aims to increase the capacity of stakeholders — government and non-government organisation partners and communities — to conduct high-quality grassroots sports programs for disadvantaged community groups.

The program is designed to increase the participation of marginalised children and youth in sports and is expected to contribute to national social and community development priorities.

ASOP India is planned around three core ‘pillars’:

  • communicate — design and implement advocacy, social mobilisation and behaviour change communication strategies to encourage and promote the concept of ‘quality sport for all’

  • connect — support the development of a national sport for development network and forum to create opportunities for sports and development organisations to pool resources and knowledge for mutual benefit

  • collaborate — assist India-based organisations to achieve specific objectives that contribute to local development needs as well as the larger ASOP goals through access to resources, technical know-how and funding support.

Key program objectives

The Australian Sports Outreach Program in India aims to contribute to building the capacity of organisations in India to use quality sport activities as a tool that contributes to improving livelihoods.

  • Livelihoods can be improved either through paid employment or promoting education and other life skills that may enhance the chances of finding paid employment.
  • This supports several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the foremost being MDG 1: Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education and MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. ASOP also recognises every child’s right to play as articulated in Article 31 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNICEF, 1989).


The ASOP India Sport for Development initiative is implemented in urban and rural locations through the following agencies:

Award Programme Foundation

Goals: Build the livelihood preparedness, vocational and life-skills capacity of volunteer community sports coaches and trainers of ASOP India partners, while incentivising and motivating the spirit of volunteerism through participation in the globally acclaimed International Award for Young People (IAYP) program.

The Award Programme Foundation (APF), an accredited member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association, is a registered non-profit organisation that works to equip young people in India for life. The Award concept is one of individual challenge. It presents young people with a balanced, non-competitive program of voluntary activities which encourage personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance and service to community.

Goa Football Association with technical support from Football Federation Australia

Goals: Build the capacity of the Goa Football Association (GFA) to deliver high-quality junior football (soccer) activities for the empowerment of 8 to 14-year-old children in Goa and create a cadre of exemplary junior football coaches.

Founded in 1959, GFA’s mandate is to promote and support football development across Goa, Union Territory of Goa through a professional inter-club league. ASOP supports ongoing development of GFA’s grassroots junior football program for 8 to 14-year-old children in collaboration with Football Federation Australia.

The program aims to develop a specialised cadre of community sports coaches with the capacity to conduct high-quality junior football activities that foster increased participation. In addition to learning the basics of sport coaching, the coaches are encouraged to contribute to holistic child and youth development and positive behaviour change through active mentoring — a key outcome of the junior football program.

Magic Bus

Goal: Support the delivery of a training, mentoring and incentives program for volunteer community sports coaches.

Magic Bus is recognised internationally for its positive impact on the lives of thousands of marginalised children and youth through high-quality sport coaching. The program relies on a core team of mentors and peer leaders trained to facilitate life skills and foster empowerment through football coaching and outdoor adventure activities.

In addition to remarkable development results, such as increased school attendance in the slums of Mumbai, Magic Bus conducted a successful community sports coach training and capacity building pilot for UNICEF in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Their
training-of-trainers program model is being improved and expanded under ASOP in several urban and rural districts across India, to create a growing cadre of motivated and skilled volunteer community sports mentor–coaches. As a result, not only has participation in sport increased tangibly, but the associated human development outcomes have also exceeded expectations, underlining the immense value of sport as a key development tool.

Naz Foundation (India) Trust with technical support from Netball Australia

Goals: Increase Naz Foundation’s capacity to deliver high-quality netball activities and competitions through its Goal program for the empowerment of 12 to 20-year-old girls in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Naz is a New Delhi-based non-governmental organisation that has been working on issues of HIV and AIDS since 1994. Naz works to prevent the spread of HIV and engages in advocacy, care and support for those affected.

To address the issue of increasing HIV infections among young women in India, Naz runs the Goal program, which uses netball and life-skills education to transform the lives of young and underprivileged girls. Goal builds girls’ self-confidence and gives them a better chance at life.

Nearly 400 girls living in urban slums participate regularly in Goal. Program sessions are offered twice a week and include a mix of netball and education modules focused on four key life skills:  promotion of self-confi dence, communication skills, health and hygiene, and financial literacy.

Once they have successfully completed all the Goal curriculum modules, girls with appropriate potential are selected and invited to become Goal Champions. These Goal Champions are trained, mentored and employed to deliver the program independently at other locations.

Rashtriya Life Saving Society, India with technical support from Surf Life Saving Australia

Goals: Support the development of coaches and contribute to the ongoing success of the Swim ‘n’ Survive lifeguard qualification program, which provides a livelihood for marginalised youth who are trained not only as lifeguards but also as swimming and lifesaving teachers who can be employed in schools.

Rashtriya Life Saving Society, India (RLSSI) is a national not-for-profit volunteer organisation dedicated to helping young people learn modern lifesaving techniques. It provides training in first aid, resuscitation, road safety, water safety, lifesaving and lifeguard skills. It is a member of the International Life Saving Federation and a branch of the Royal Life Saving Society UK and has trained more than 70 000 people to acquire certified first aid and lifesaving skills, and facilitates their placement as professional lifeguards.

With support from Surf Life Saving Australia, ASOP contributes to increasing the participation of children and youth in the Swim ‘n’ Survive program and expanding the program’s reach by building a growing body of well-trained swimming, lifesaving and lifeguard instructors.

Special Olympics Bharat with technical support from Special Olympics Asia Pacific

Goals: Support an organisational planning process and implement activities that improve the operational viability of Special Olympics Bharat and extend its capacity to deliver high-quality disability sport programming for children and youth across the country.

Special Olympics Bharat is founded on the belief that people with an intellectual disability can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. The organisation operates year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympicstyle sports for children and adults with intellectual disability. This model gives participants the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of bonds, skills and friendship with other Special Olympics athletes, their families and their communities.

Coordinated by an organisational team of less than ten employees, Special Olympics Bharat has trained nearly 50 000 dedicated volunteers who already reach over 700 000 special athletes across 32 Indian states. The program is growing steadily and will include 1 000 000 special athletes in India by 2012.

Special Olympics Bharat has been conferred the status of a National Sports Federation for the Promotion of Sports for the Intellectually Disabled by the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Recently its mandate was expanded by the Government of India to include people with physical disability.

In collaboration with Special Olympics Asia Pacific, ASOP is helping to streamline and develop efficient, cost-effective program systems and operations, by engaging organisational development specialists to make the most of Special Olympics Bharat’s unique brand appeal and its financial and human resources base.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Goals: Assist UNICEF to support implementation of the Right to Education Act in India through sport by piloting, validating and advocating inclusive approaches for the delivery of high-quality physical education and sport in government schools and grass roots village communities.

Mandated by the global community to advocate and support the protection of children's rights, UNICEF receives assistance through ASOP to promote children’s right to play in India.

In collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development, UNICEF aims to improve the quality, content and delivery of the physical education curriculum in elementary schools as an integral part of a holistic quality education for children.

UNICEF also works closely with the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to support implementation of their national flagship program Panchayat Yuva Khel aur Krida Abhiyan, which aspires to provide each of the 250,000 rural villages in the country with a safe play space, adequate sports equipment, a trained community sports coach and access to an organised competition structure.

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