School of Population Health

The Power of Sport: An Introduction to Sport for Social Change (GENM0709)


“Sport has the power to change the world... it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”  (Nelson Mandela, circa early 2000)

There is no doubt about the positive benefits of engaging in sports. The power of sports, however, goes well beyond the playing field, and individual benefit.  Sports traditionally are not appreciated for the vast extent of social good, and positive change  they can bring, in  both developing and developed countries.

Taught by inspiring 2018 category winner of the AFR 100 Women of Influence, Dr Anne Bunde-Birouste and her inspiring team of award-winning staff, this course will introduce students to the exciting new and emerging field of sport for development and social change (S4D/SC), where the power of sport goes well beyond the traditional playing fields to address health and social challenges. Through an inspiring mix of workshops, case studies, multi-media, field visits to see SD in action and guest experts, students will engage with the compelling power of this emerging field of sport for development and social change.

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” (V Lombardi, circa 1960’s)

Credit points

This is a six-unit general education course offered in an internal (weekly lecture) mode.

Mode of study

Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course aim

The aims of this course are to:

  • introduce and familiarize students with sport for development and social change ideology, theories and practices; 
  • foster students’ understanding of the difference between sports development and sport for development and social change;
  • enable students take part in today's sport for social change movement in a front role.
Course Outcomes
On successful completion of this course you will be able to:
  1. distinguish the difference between development of sport and sport for development and social change (S4D/SC);
  2. describe how sport for development and social change (S4D/SC) can also contribute to the development of sport at local, national and international levels;
  3. explain how health promotion, social science and development program theories relate to the sport for development and social change (S4D/SC) movement;
  4. apply advocacy strategies to promote the sport for development and social change (S4D/SC)  movement.
Learning and teaching rationale

The course offers students a combination of learning experiences, integrating both individual and group work throughout class time and assessment tasks. Students learn from lectures and readings, online engagement with key international networks and from each other in student-led tutorials. Students will engage in experiential learning through on-field experience, and special workshops with key experts from the field of S4d/SC.


Assessment Task 1 - Reading Analysis: weekly participatioin in the Reading Game
Weighting: 15%

Assessment Task 2 - Interview and Analysis
Weighting: 30%
Length: 1000 words; class presentation

Assessment Task 3 - Group Project - Conference presentation & peer assessments
Weighting: 35%

Assessment Task 4 - Final Quiz
Weighting: 20%
Length: 10 questions

Readings and resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  1. Course notes and readings (posted on Moodle)
  2. Lectures slides (posted in Moodle)
  3. Lecture recordings (available in Moodle)
  4. Supplementary resources such as videos, podcasts (available in Moodle)
Recommended text
The recommended text for this course is: Global Sport-for-Development: Critical Perspectives, Editors: Nico Schulenkorf, Daryl Adair, Palgrave Macmillan. This book is available online and as an ebook in the UNSW Library.