Integration of Refugees
through Sport

About the Initiative

In 2016, ISCA, with funding from the Nordplus and Erasmus+ programmes, started working on two projects addressing a sensitive topic and vulnerable target group that is the subject of great debate in Europe: the inclusion and integration of refugees. The projects brought together experts from the Nordic countries, the UK, Italy and Germany to map and explore ways of including refugees in European societies through sport and physical activity.

The main message that has recurred as the Integration of Refugees through Sport initiative has developed is that sport and simple physical movements can be used as a momentary relief for refugees and can open doors to new social contacts and different cultures. And that sport and physical activity are also simply about people wanting to #PlayTogether. Therefore, despite the many political challenges clubs, organisations, NGOs and even individuals working with refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers face in their daily work, we are optimistic and motivated to change things, slowly, but hopefully with everlasting results for an inclusive society of tomorrow.

A hub of resources

The Integration of Refugees through Sport (IRTS) website is a hub of resources for professionals and volunteers working on activities with refugees and other initiatives that focus on social inclusion. Our focus is on grassroots sport, but you will find that many of the resources can be used for other community initiatives as well. ISCA and our partners launched the first IRTS resources and inspirational videos to coincide with World Refugee Day, and these included an implementation guide, tips and tricks for working with refugees, best practices, and other inspirational stories. We are also set to launch an online learning course on our platform learn.isca.org in 2019.

MOVE Beyond: Piloting new initiatives

In 2018, ISCA received an Erasmus+ Sport Collaborate Partnerships grant to continue our work on this topic with a new project called MOVE Beyond. The project takes the next step into programme implementation by pairing grassroots sport and non-sport NGOs to pilot new initiatives in Denmark, Italy, Sweden and the UK. The goal is to enhance cross-sector collaboration on grassroots sport and physical activities for societal inclusion of refugees by enabling stronger involvement of non-sport actors. As part of the project, the partners will consult other organisations working with refugees and speak to refugees and/or asylum seekers who are part of existing programmes to gain valuable insights before commencing the pilot implementations.

Integration of Refugees through Sport and MOVE Beyond partners

The Integration of Refugees through Sport initiative was established by ISCA and our partners the Ollerup Academy of Physical Education (Denmark), the Icelandic Youth Association UMFÍ (Iceland), the German Gymnastics Federation (Germany), UISP (Italy), Akershus Idrettskrets (Norway), SISU Västergötland (Sweden), StreetGames and the University of Kent (UK). The MOVE Beyond partners include the University of Copenhagen’s Advanced Migration Studies (Denmark) and Demos (Belgium), who specialise in research and analysis of best practices in inclusion of refugees and migrants, plus four “implementation pairs”: DGI and the Danish Red Cross (Denmark), UISP Trentino and ATAS (Italy), Västra Götalands Idrottsförbund and Save the Children Sweden (Region West) (Sweden), and StreetGames and SPARC Sport (UK).

MOVE Beyond partners funded by
Erasmus+ Sport Collaborative Partnerships

Integration of Refugees through Sport Partners
funded by Nordplus Adult

Integration of Refugees through Sport Partners
funded by Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnerships