Focus On: Knowledge
In this edition of our ‘focus on’ series we explore why gathering insights and sharing knowledge are key priorities for Team Up.
Sharing knowledge of best practice in sport for development is one of Team Up’s focus areas. As the largest sport for development program in the Pacific with more than 30 partnerships working in different locations, sports and contexts, Team Up has an opportunity to share an unparalleled volume of knowledge with the sector.
Team Up programs each collect data and information about their activities and achievements. Our focus, through evaluation and research, is 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, both in the Pacific and worldwide. Being able to distil our collective data and information into knowledge products that our programs (and others) can use to continuously improve is a key priority of Team Up.
“In the past, sport for development programs have sometimes operated in relative isolation due a lack of interconnectivity within the sector, and opportunities have been missed to maximise their impact by sharing knowledge,” explains Team Up Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning Adviser Melissa Palombi.
“Due to the breadth of Team Up programs and their targeted interventions across six Pacific countries, it is extremely important that knowledge and learnings from our programs are shared not only within Team Up but also with key stakeholders at local, national, regional and international levels. Having communities of practice at each of these levels ensures we are never starting from scratch, but further building for every program, using collective knowledge and strengths.”
Team Up’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning (MERL) team builds the capacity of partners to evaluate the impact of their programs. Through a structured reporting system, knowledge is captured regularly and systematically using a variety of mediums and techniques including data collection, narrative reports, story of change templates and video reflections. Team Up works with partners to analyse lessons learned, and conducts regular review and reflection workshops, meetings and webinars to enhance results and increase understanding of best practice.
As Team Up reaches its six-month and annual milestones, partners will showcase learnings, achievements and best practice via stories, videos, partner-to-partner reflection sessions and other interactive methods, encouraging peer-to-peer knowledge transfer and helping the program become more effective.
Team Up also seeks out opportunities to present learnings from the often-under-represented Pacific region in global forums. This builds on efforts under Team Up’s predecessor program, Pacific Sports Partnerships, whereby partners were encouraged to share Pacific perspectives on international platforms.
In 2020, in response to a call for articles on What is the future of sport and development? from the International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev), partners showcased their innovative approaches and adaptability to COVID-19 through a series of articles that looked at rebuilding, reshaping and leveraging existing sports programs and systems to sustain delivery during the pandemic.
In 2022 as international conferences resume, Team Up will seek to showcase Pacific models of best practice and innovation in sport for development at face-to-face events.
Internally, Team Up hosts a knowledge-sharing platform and community of practice called ‘The Clubhouse’ for its more than 60 partners, allowing staff across all programs to connect with each other digitally and access global resources and opportunities. This platform facilitates communication and knowledge-sharing and has more than 100 active users among Team Up partners and staff.
Externally, the Australian Government through Team Up (and its predecessor program, Pacific Sports Partnerships) has played a key role in the development of the world’s first massive open online course (MOOC) in sport for sustainable development, working in partnership with sportanddev and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The course, Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing effective policies and programmes, has been designed to build capacity among individuals and organisations using sport for development in their work, and features contributions from many Team Up partners. To date, the free course has attracted more than 5,0000 learners from 180 countries and six continents since its first run in the second half of 2020 and updated second run in 2021. The updated course incorporates a section on sport and COVID-19, additional resources and tools, and an improved focus on cross-cutting issues such as human rights, gender and safeguarding. Team Up is supporting more people in the sector, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, to access the course.
The Women in News and Sport (WINS) program under Team Up also facilitates online learning opportunities, including a recent workshop for Asia-Pacific female sports journalists on how to cover major events remotely, delivered in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Team Up has a longstanding strategic partnership with the International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev). The sportanddev platform is widely recognised as the leading global hub for those using sport to achieve social, economic and environmental objectives, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The platform seeks to share knowledge, build good practice, facilitate coordination and foster partnerships in sport and development. It has more than 500,000 unique visitors per year, which included visitors from 229 countries and territories during 2020. Team Up on behalf of the Australian Government, sits on and currently chairs the influential sportanddev steering board, which oversees the governance and strategic direction of the platform.
Dr Ben Sanders, senior consultant at sportanddev, says this partnership is mutually beneficial. “We are delighted to have Team Up as a strategic partner, building upon the success of our previous collaboration with Pacific Sports Partnerships, which helped to highlight the amazing sport and development work being done by many organisations across the Asia-Pacific region. Their support has helped us better serve the sport and development community globally and especially in the Pacific, helping to tackle existing divides and inequities. We look forward to many more years of collaboration.”
This partnership allows Team Up and its partners to showcase their work to a global audience and wide range of actors, including sport federations and governing bodies, governments and intergovernmental agencies, civil society organisations, universities and other stakeholders in sport and development. As such, Team Up projects and partners have published articles and contributed to the global discourse on sport and development, elevating the status of their work while also strengthening the sector.