Australia’s new investment in sport for development in the Asia-Pacific region, the Team Up Program (formerly known as the Australian Sports Partnerships Program), is a 10-year initiative with an annual budget of AUD $6 million, funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It will be delivered in six Pacific island countries (Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu).
The Australian Government has supported sport for development projects in the Asia-Pacific region for more than a decade, most recently through the Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) and Asian Sports Partnerships (ASP). Since 2015, these programs have worked with 15 sports in nine countries through 50 in-country partnerships in the Pacific islands, and 17 sports in 15 countries across Asia.
The design of the Team Up draws on lessons from the PSP and ASP, and responds directly to recommendations of an independent evaluation of the two programs. It was developed through widespread consultations with organisations in all participating countries, as well as regional, global and Australian-based organisations. The consultations included sport, development, research, government, health, women’s, disability, and sport for development sectors, and DFAT officials.
Globally, sport is a way people convene, gain status, create norms and celebrate culture. But access to sport is unequal. Women, girls and people with disabilities face barriers or are systematically excluded from participation, coaching, officiating, administrating and governing sport. This means they are also excluded from access to the sport- related benefits of peer support, networks, resources, opportunities to practise and showcase leadership, better health and well-being, and opportunities to be visible and create a profile. This inequality is known as the ‘play gap’. Sport for development programming such as Team Up offers an opportunity to address the ‘play gap’ that exists in mainstream sport through carefully designed and targeted activities that can level the playing field.
Goal and Outcomes
Team Up’s goal is that Australia-Asia-Pacific sport partnerships support all people to realise their full potential through sport.
In contributing to this goal, Team Up will work towards three connected, mutually reinforcing end-of- program outcomes that will address the ‘play gap’ by supporting women and girls, and people with a disability, to benefit from participation in safe, inclusive and accessible sport programs and organisations. In order to forge progress in these areas, Australia and its Asia-Pacific partners will use sport to strengthen relationships and build closer collaboration and people-to-people linkages.
End-of-Program Outcome 1: Sport programs attract and retain women, girls and people with a disability as well as men and boys
Team Up will bring together a portfolio of sport for development partners that will design and implement programs that remove barriers (e.g. low access to resources, threat of violence and harassment, gender norms) and give access to benefits (e.g. peer support, new networks, safe spaces, mastery, leadership opportunities) to support women, girls and people with a disability to fully participate in all elements of the sport sector. Team Up, its partners and DFAT will leverage the visibility of these activities by drawing on the public diplomacy and media opportunities, and people-to- people linkages, created by these programs.
End-of-Program Outcome 2: Sport organisations are safe, inclusive and accessible
Safe, inclusive and accessible sport organisations are a precondition to creating sustainable opportunities for women, girls and people with a disability to reap the benefits of sport. Women, girls and people with a disability will only experience the benefits of sport if these values are celebrated in all areas. To achieve this, Team Up will establish partnerships with regional, sub-regional and local organisations that are tactically aligned with this outcome, to support a cultural shift among sport organisations, delivery partners, and more broadly, to develop and use safeguarding, inclusion equality policies and systems within sporting organisations and across all Team Up activities.
End-of-Program Outcome 3: Australia and Asia-Pacific partners use sport to strengthen relationships and build closer collaboration
Team Up will build on Australia’s reputation and experience in delivering sport for development and sport diplomacy activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Team Up will develop world-class partnerships and relationships within the sport sector and position Australia as a trusted leader in the global sport for development community by investing in partnerships based on mutual benefits, respect and transparency that provide opportunities for Australian and Asia-Pacific organisations to work together to solve development challenges and celebrate success.
Partnerships and Activities
Team Up will establish partnerships with organisations that contribute to end-of-program outcomes and comply with due diligence standards. This approach recognises that stronger outcomes can be achieved by mobilising the best assets of both sport and development actors to deliver on shared priorities.
Team Up will support the establishment and delivery of a range of partnerships through a fit-for-purpose partnership funding mechanism which supports partners to deliver on outcomes.
The Team Up partnership fund will contribute to two partnership streams:
- Sport for development partnerships that attract and retain women, girls and people living with a disability, address barriers to participation, promote gender equality and social inclusion, and seek to promote and build a culture of diversity among sports people and within sporting organisations
- Strategic partnerships that come together around key thematic areas (e.g. safeguarding, communications and leadership) and that contribute to institutional strengthening in areas that are relevant to creating safe, inclusive, and accessible organisations
Gender equality and disability inclusion will be addressed through a twin track approach that involves both mainstreaming activities, and providing affirmative opportunities for those who have been excluded in the past.
Team Up will provide technical support to assist partners to analyse current practices and develop ways of determining new approaches. Team Up will support partners to react to their own observations and analysis of their challenges and priorities. It will take a rigorous approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning, and apply adaptive management processes that strengthen the Team Up’s ability to achieve long-term outcomes.
Team Up will also seek to strengthen the role of sporting organisations as non-traditional development actors. It will invest in scoping processes to understand specific situations and it will take a progressive, realistic approach.
Overall, Team Up will be delivered through a range of approaches including deepening institutional relationships and collaborations, creating opportunities for diplomatic engagement and communication, and engaging in global efforts.
Program management and support
GHD, in partnership with Women Win, was awarded the contract to design and implement Team Up from 2018-2022. GHD, an experienced managing contractor and Women Win, an international non-government organisation (NGO) that equips adolescent girls to exercise their rights through sport, have partnered to identify and select Team Up partners, and support them through program delivery. Team Up will be managed by a Canberra-based unit that will oversee day-to-day operations, including due diligence, integrity and communications. Team Up will also have a regional field office in Fiji, which will provide regular, cost-efficient technical support to partners, and collaborate with regional, sub- regional and national stakeholders. GHD and Women Win will provide technical advice to support outcomes in key areas including gender equality, disability inclusion, safeguarding, private sector engagement, soft power, partnership development, monitoring and evaluation, and communications.