2.5 Examples of good practice

Think about your heroes in sport: which of them were born in a different country? Who has migrated from another country before or during his/her career? And if you think about your favourite sports team, how many nationalities are represented within it? Where do the players come from?

There is a constant flow of people moving from country to country. Whether they arrive as migrants or as refugees, society is increasingly diverse as a result and sport is not isolated from this change. In Chapter 1 we have included examples of migrants and refugees who have taken an open-minded approach to this flow of people.

But this integration is not limited to elite sport. Think about grassroots sports: the sports club just around the corner, the sport project in your neighbourhood - where do the participants come from? Who is participating in sport there? Who is on the club board? Who is watching the competitions? In the following examples we consider initiatives and projects established at grassroots sport level – both by the adopted country and the refugees themselves. At the end of Chapter 4 you will find examples of sports organisations who have also adopted an open-minded approach.


Fit for Diversity – a part of the Integration through Sport framework

Implementing Organisation German Olympic Sports Confederation/DOSB in the framework of the federal program “Integration through Sport”
Cooperation / Partner Sponsored and supported by the Federal Ministry of Interior
Location Germany
Time / Duration Fit for Diversity has existed for more than 20 years since the beginning of the federal program in 1989. It was originally called “Sport Interculturally”.
Structure / Design  In the framework of the federal program “Integration Through Sport” exists a qualification measure, “Fit for Diversity”. The idea of this qualification measure is to sensitise sport organisations (from coaches to board members) to the issues of diversity. In the last four years European countries, including Germany, have witnessed a big increase in migration. Thus, sports organisations took over their roles as socially responsible organisations and supported the government with activities involving refugees in a direct way, such as by hosting activities in reception centres for refugees. As we know, the migration issue is still urgent now, but due to the common European approach, a deeper substantive work can be addressed by sports organisations. Through all the years, “Fit for Diversity” proved itself as a very solid qualification measure, helping sport facilitators to understand the benefits of intercultural diversity, to turn the intercultural encounters into a fruitful dialogue and to open up new possibilities for people with migrant backgrounds. In the framework of “Integration Through Sport” there are many bodies offering the qualification workshops in a different form: from a short introduction course to the full version (15 learning units). The qualification is offered by all 16 federal state sports confederations throughout Germany. The qualification tool “Fit for Diversity” was taken as a basis for the “Intercultural Dialogue” chapter of this training module. 



Welcoming through Sport

Target group People of migrant backgrounds in Germany.
Implementing Organisation German Olympic Sports Confederation/DOSB 
Cooperation / Partners Sponsored and supported by the Federal Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.
Location Germany
Time/Duration The project was started by the DOSB in 2015 as a reaction to the big increase of people with migrant backgrounds, especially refugees in Germany.
Structure / Design Approximately 300 sports clubs participate in the project. Seven federal states’ sports confederations throughout Germany support and implement the project. The beginning phase was focused on the short-term reception of refugees. The project partners had the goal of making the daily routine of refugees, despite their hard experience, better. For this, sports clubs organised some low-threshold sport offers and activities and helped refugees to discover the world of sport. During the last three years sports clubs and participating confederations have started to work with a more long-term perspective. Offering qualifications to sport facilitators, launching intercultural dialogue between refugees and sport clubs and opening up sport structures are now the central framework of the project. Now the following goals are addressed by the participating organisations: development of sustainable concepts; networking; promotion of “Welcome Culture” in sports organisations; and inclusion of refugees in responsible positions in sports organisations.
Input/outcome The positive experiences from this project are being constantly adopted by the federal program ‘Integration Through Sport’.


Quiz on Intercultural Dialogue
Check your learning from this chapter by answering the following questions:

What do you think “intercultural dialogue” is about?

  • What do you know about intercultural communication?
  • How open are you to communication with people from other cultures? How often do you do this? Does it mean fun or stress for you?
  • Are you still living in your place of birth? If not, do you feel comfortable in your new cultural surroundings? What do you miss most of all? What helps you to feel comfortable?
  • Think of people in your surroundings (family, neighbours, colleagues, sports club members) who were born in another city/country. Which languages are spoken by these people? What are they primarily to you: foreigners, people with other cultural backgrounds or more neighbours, colleagues, friends?
  • If you think of yourself, how do you feel if you are somewhere completely new (traveling abroad, at a new job, at a party, in a sport club)? Is it easy for you to communicate? What do you need for smooth communication? How do you want other people to treat you in these situations?
  • Do you have a particular picture in your mind when you hear that someone comes from Germany, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Afghanistan, Syria or any other country even if you have never met this person before? Does this picture influence your future communication with him or her?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are the first step of self-reflection and help you to dive into the topic of the chapter.

Links for further reading/viewing

General information on the federal program “Integration through Sport”:

Information on “Welcoming Through Sport” project

Information on qualification “Fit For Diversity”

Information on regions – federal states sports confederations and their clubs involved in the program

Further resources
Council of Europe: T-kit Series 4 - Intercultural Learning

Handbook for Intercultural Learning Time4diversity

European Centre of Solidarity: Integration through Education project

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