Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1270, (12 - 18 November 2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1270, (12 - 18 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Move more

The International Sports and Culture Association celebrated its 20th anniversary at a special event presented by the 2015 MOVE Congress. Inas Mazhar reports from Copenhagen

Al-Ahram Weekly

The MOVE Congress is one of the few conferences in the world that focuses solely on recreational sport and physical activity. Copenhagen hosted 25 expert speakers and 200 delegates from around the world representing a variety of sectors that share a common aim: to engage in partnerships and cross-sector collaborations that motivate more people to be physically active.

For the past 20 years, MOVE has been held annually. However, the general assembly agreed in its meeting this week to change the statute so that the congress could be held once every other year.

This year witnessed an interactive MOVE Congress programme. Participants were able to gain hands-on experience in using data as an advocacy tool, and to discover fundraising opportunities available to their organisations, join in behind-the-scenes tours of some  of Copenhagen’s most innovative recreational sports facilities, and learn about growing trends in physical activity.

This year’s Move Congress, which came to an end this week, concentrated on three main topics: advocacy, innovation and fundraising, all very relevant subjects in the recreational sport and physical activity sector. The new knowledge and skills encouraged the participants to engage in partnerships and cross-sector collaborations that motivate more people to be physically active, and contribute to the vision of the International Sports and Culture Association (ISCA) of 100 million more Europeans physically active by 2020.

For two full days, the participants listened to experts in the three topics and joined in different workshops. It started with advocacy. Studies around the world are showing similar trends of rising inactivity levels and crippling costs associated with them. The numbers are growing, and the inactivity time bomb is ticking and needs to be defused.

Data can be a powerful tool for organisations like ISCA. It reinforces why initiatives are being created that help people to move more. In order to convince others to support ISCA, the advocate plenary session and workshop introduced ways for the participants to use as evidence from their countries to move their work and physical activity agenda forward. Participants were also introduced to practical inspiration from experienced advocators for grassroots sport initiatives.

The innovate workshops tackled the following: reaching the hard-to-reach through effective initiatives and campaigns; campaigns and initiatives for girls and women; growing trends in physical activity; running across the world; effective school initiatives that nurture children and teen participation in sport and physical activity; growing trends in physical activity; and leveraging mass events for sustainable physical activity participation.

On the sidelines of the conference, participants also got the chance to get a taste of street food, and the vibrant sport culture with live music and hands-on activities.

Day two focussed on fundraising and an introduction to new fundraising trends and concepts with training on increasing income from corporate, foundation and governmental donors.

The delegates who came from five continents to take part in the event were welcomed by Copenhagen Mayor of Culture and Leisure Carl Christian Ebbesen at the City Hall of Copenhagen at the opening of the three-day event.

Ebbesen said he was pleased Copenhagen could host this platform for stakeholders in sport and physical activity, hoping the delegates would use the street sport setting at the host venue GAME and the tours of Copenhagen’s most innovative facilities for physical activity as further inspiration for their work.

“I hope the MOVE Congress 2015 can help us discover new approaches to sport, physical activity and facilities, and rethink and develop what physical activity can be. It is not the name of the sport that matters; it is the number of people being physically active that really matters,” Ebbesen said.

The delegates then listened to three interconnected presentations drawing inspiration from bestselling business author Simon Sinek: Do you know your why? by Mark Lowther from Cardiff Metropolitan University’s School of Sport, Do you know your what? by DGI President Søren Møller) and Do you know your who? by ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby.

Lowther began by emphasising the reason behind using the word “why” as a starting point for stakeholders in sport and physical activity to consider at the MOVE Congress. “It is important to have a clear purpose, a collaborative process and to have some sort of compelling product or service,” he said.

He noted that the purpose of grassroots sport has a distinct correlation with elite sport – and should be just as compelling a product when it comes to achieving the three main working areas of the congress: advocating for the cause, innovating grassroots sport initiatives and gaining support through fundraising or by other means.

“They seem like two polarities; two completely opposite worlds [grassroots and elite sport]…” Lowther said. “But I would suggest that there is a common ground and a common line for our sector. From the hardest to reach grassroots participation right up to those striving to be the best in elite sport, and that common line for me is hope. Our purpose is hope and belief in human potential and human possibility.”

Møller, a founding ISCA member, illustrated how these two worlds are colliding to the benefit of the same cause in Denmark. Earlier this year DGI, the country’s biggest grassroots sport association, joined forces with the national elite sport body, the NOC and Sports Confederation of Denmark.

Their product, ‘Move for Life’ (Bevæg dig for Livet), is an ambitious campaign for 75 per cent of Danish citizens to be physically active by 2025, and for 50 per cent of the population to be members of a sports club. The initiative has succeeded in getting corporate foundations Nordea-fonden and TrygFonden on board but Møller underlined the value of gaining inspiration from like-minded organisations from other countries at an event like the congress.

“We know what we have to achieve and we know we need all the inspiration that we can get to identify the right, efficient and sustainable solutions. DGI has since the foundation of ISCA been ready to share our ideas and take your ideas on board for implementation in a Danish context. To succeed with the vision ‘Move for Life’ we need to be given more inspiration and knowledge,” he said.

“We know that many of you are facing similar opportunities and challenges such as school reforms, declining memberships within traditional sports, and the dynamics of the competition between voluntary based civil society and the commercialised market.”

Kirkeby thanked the city of Copenhagen, Sport Event Denmark and the Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities for pledging their support behind the MOVE Congress 2015. They played a big role in how the congress came into being, he said, and ISCA put the framework in place for the delegates to find out how to develop their next successful initiative.

“Over the next two days we will try to do our best to set up the congress and meeting points for you to exchange your ideas and find the platform for your ‘how’. It does not come easily. It comes only if you ask and if you give,” Kirkeby said.

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