Team Up is the Australian Government’s sport for development program in the Asia-Pacific. Read on to find out more about the program and its focus.
Team Up is a sport for development program comprising more than 30 partnerships across the Asia-Pacific that are working towards three outcomes:
These three outcomes all contribute to Team Up’s overall goal: Australia-Asia-Pacific sport partnerships support all people to realise their full potential through sport.
Team Up is one of a number of programs and activities driving the Australian Government’s implementation of the Sports Diplomacy 2030 strategy that support sporting organisations, athletes and the Pacific community through sport. It delivers on one of the key priorities of the strategy by using sport as a tool to strengthen communities across the Asia-Pacific. Team Up works closely with the Australian Government’s elite sports program, PacificAus Sports.
The first phase of Team Up is centred on the Pacific. It involves more than 60 partners from 13 sports and has five focus areas: gender, disability, leadership, governance and knowledge. Read on to find out more about how Team Up works in partnership to forge progress in these areas.
Ensuring women and girls enjoy all the benefits of sport
Around the world, girls and women face unique challenges to participating in sport. By extension, this means they are often excluded from the benefits of being involved in sport including the friendships, joy, freedom, and competitive spirit that many of us associate with sport. Beyond that, sport can provide wider ranging social, psycho-social, health and economic benefits, which girls and women currently have less access to. This inequality is known as the ‘play gap’.
Team Up believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be actively involved in sport in whatever capacity they choose. We are committed to addressing the play gap at all levels – from the grassroots to the boardroom. Through Team Up, sport organisations will be supported to become more safe, inclusive and accessible, as this is a prerequisite to enabling more equitable opportunities for girls, women and other excluded groups. Australia is seen as a regional leader in forging gender equity in sport, and Team Up seeks to share and extend this leadership with our partners.
Team Up programs will also be carefully designed to address issues related to gender inequality and ensure that sports become a safe haven for girls and women to exercise their rights.
Championing a collaborative approach to disability-inclusive sport
People with a disability across the Asia-Pacific region often face marginalisation and exclusion. Negative attitudes in the community are compounded by a lack of awareness and discrimination, while women and girls with disabilities face multiple layers of discrimination. This means that people with disability have lower levels of access to all areas of life, including the benefits related to sport participation.
Disability inclusion is central to the purpose of Team Up and builds on the understanding that effectiveness of sport for inclusive development relies on collaborations between disability organisations, sports organisations and government and non-government development actors. Our program will take a twin-track approach, meaning that we will implement disability-inclusive development both through our mainstream programming, and through targeted efforts to facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities. Australia’s partnerships in the Pacific seek to build stronger communities and provide people with the skills and opportunities to succeed, regardless of ability. Team Up reinforces this work through our sport for development programs.
Team Up will collaborate with sporting and disability organisations to scope barriers to participation in all levels of sport, and work together to build the capacity of coaches, officials and administrators to create opportunities for people with disabilities, which will ultimately strengthen sporting institutions to become more inclusive. All our work in this area is undertaken with the mantra ‘nothing about us, without us’, meaning that those involved in outcomes will be part of the process of achieving them.
Promoting diverse and proactive sport leadership
Leadership in sport, as in other facets of life, is key to effecting positive change and achieving desired outcomes. Bold, proactive and ethical leadership that is inclusive and consultative enhances an organisation and brings value to its people and programs. An absence of sound and inclusive leadership (that is lacking representation of women and people with disabilities) has been identified as an issue in many areas of sport. There is growing recognition among the sporting community that more needs to be done to ensure everyone feels that their views are being championed by leaders.
Team Up promotes diversity in leadership at all levels, recognising that leadership qualities are found in every person. We place importance on creating an enabling environment and providing targeted support for women, people with disabilities and other minority groups to contribute as leaders.
We will seek opportunities to strategically partner with organisations to deliver programs that will benefit current and future leaders. Showcasing inspirational leaders and examples of positive leadership will highlight the possibilities for others and provide encouragement for more inclusive leadership environments.
Strengthening and supporting good governance in sport
Good governance is fundamental to the success of an organisation and is a foundation of strong programming. Sporting bodies are attuned to the importance of good governance, and are aware that practices of transparency and accountability, coupled with participatory and responsive approaches, will result in greater respect and confidence from partners and stakeholders. The positive impact of sport is decreased when good governance is absent.
Team Up is committed to supporting program partners to strengthen their governance practices. Our programs operate in strict adherence to rules and requirements aligned to good governance principles, as necessary for sound program management.
Governance resources and training will be made available to Team Up programs, and to individuals directly involved in the governance and management of programs. Team Up recognises the increased emphasis now placed on good governance within sport, and the various initiatives tied to increasing capability in this area, and will work with regional and international bodies to ensure Team Up programs receive the necessary support.
Sharing knowledge of best practice in sport for development
Sharing knowledge is how we learn, progress, improve and innovate. It is fundamental to any discipline and especially important in areas that are emerging, such as sport for development best practice in the Pacific. We often hear that the world is drowning in data and information but starved of knowledge and truth. Being able to distil our collective data and information into knowledge products that we can all use to continuously improve will be a key aspect of Team Up, and will drive efficiency and effectiveness.
Team Up has more than 30 partnerships working in different locations, sports and contexts, all collecting data and information about their activities and achievements. Our focus, through evaluation and research, will be to collectively make sense of these insights so that we can learn what works, what doesn’t, and in what situations. We want everyone to learn from our experiences to ensure that future programs can continue to improve.
Our knowledge base will be developed through our Team Up community of practice, positioning Australia and its Asia-Pacific partners as trusted leaders in the global sport for development community. Knowledge will be captured through regular systematic reporting and we will work with our partners to capture lessons learned and conduct regular review and reflection workshops to improve our understanding of best practice. We will showcase our knowledge products globally and encourage others to provide feedback so that we can all improve.