Opinion

Joël Bouzou
Peace and Sport President and Founder

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19/09/2020 par Joël Bouzou

In the future, digital tools will break down the doors

“All over the world, the health crisis put a stop to sport: gyms were closed, playing fields left deserted and very few games played. The international sporting calendar was shaken as never before, to the point where the majority of large events had to be postponed or even cancelled. However, at Peace and Sport, the Covid-19 pandemic had the opposite effect: it forced us to hurry along with the mobile app we have been developing with the start-up, MyCoach. We unveiled it at the end of last year during our International Forum in Monaco and now, on the occasion of International Day of Peace, it has become a priority.

“Having worked for the past 12 years on ways to promote peace via sport, we were convinced of the need for this app. The health crisis served to remove any lingering doubts as to the need for it on a global scale. The post-Coronavirus world will, in fact, have an even greater need for sport as a means of peace, solidarity and inclusion. Above all, the new world will need to rely even more heavily upon new technology in order to share values and measure their impact.

“We first suggested the methodology of peace through sport seven years ago, with a guide of best practice, a paper document to be photocopied or downloaded, in the good old-fashioned way. It was a laudable effort but had a limited impact. The Peace and Sport x MyCoach app broke down all the doors during its development – and more have been pushed open thanks to its universal appeal. This initiative is exactly in line with recent recommendations from the United Nations’ Secretary-General, who highlights digitalisation, as seen in our methodology, as a good example in his 2020 report on the contribution of sport to the 2030 Agenda. The app is intuitive and accessible everywhere to everyone, even in refugee camps, war zones and areas of religious and ethnic conflict. It can be downloaded and used on any smartphone, offering the tools to achieve peace through sport to those who most need them – in particular, teachers and educators in regions of the world where communication has broken down between neighbouring communities.

“This digital tool is not only an innovation – and it is not just the first of its kind to have a worldwide plan to use sport to build a culture of peace. The Peace and Sport x MyCoach app is far more than a mere online manual offering a strategy and exercises designed around sporting activities. It will allow Peace and Sport, along with our agents on the ground, to measure the impact of our programmes. And I cannot emphasise it enough: our aim is peace and dialogue between communities and individuals. Sport is just a tool used to achieve this – but how do we measure our progress? How do we realistically and precisely evaluate the programme’s relevance? The app itself gives a clear answer to these questions, as it allows those using it to collect data and measure the impact of their work.

“The health crisis not only pushed us to speed up development but also to adapt our offer to the constraints of the moment. The app includes a digital e-learning platform developed with MyCoach, ensuring distance training for peace educators, so that they can develop their activities in the furthest-flung regions where isolation became even more apparent during the pandemic.

“A multi-sport version will follow: after football, chosen as the pilot sport because of its universal appeal, the app will be enlarged with rugby, basketball and a combat sport. There will be more on offer but the aim remains the same: to promote peace by using sport, with all its rules and values. It is not a new concept but today – and even more so tomorrow – digital has given it a dimension hitherto only dreamt of: to be able to measure its impact and to check its relevance. This is a giant step forward.”

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