Considering the personal challenges of refugees


4.4.1. Identify the current situation

In order to start this project, it is important to make an honest assessment of what the current situation looks like in your organisation. To help with this, we can think about those meeting places we talked about earlier in the chapter. One idea is to start close to the actual action - for example at training sessions.

From a helicopter perspective, try and put words on what you see, hear, feel and experience in the different meeting places. Use these open questions below to get started:

  • Who is here?
  • What do they look like? Age, gender, background, appearance, clothing etc.
  • Who fits in with us?
  • What does the relationship look like between our participants?
  • What are the conditions for those who are active? Rules, training places, times, equipment, etc. Are they equal to all?
  • Is there anyone who has special privileges in the group?
  • How is power distributed in our group?
  • Is there anyone who attracts more attention than others? If so, what does that mean?
  • What language and which jargon is used?
  • Is there anything which can be perceived as exclusive or limiting to some? What does that mean?
  • Is there something that you need to change or develop? If so, what? What will be your next step?

It is good to remember that there is a Caucasian norm in Europe which will affect how we view sport. Some sports have different rules or sorts of equipment for men and women. Having men’s and women’s teams is not unusual and they are usually valued differently. Sport organisations tend to value a very one-sided form of exercising where a competitive element is always included.

A good example of how change is possible is to look at basketball in Europe. The rules used to say that it was forbidden to play basketball in hijab, thus excluding hijab-wearing players. This was not a significant problem until the sport’s playing demographic changed and more hijab-wearing women got into the sport. The issue was then raised to a European level by some countries and the rules were changed to allow play in the hijab. This is clear proof that it is possible to change rules to make a sport more inclusive and to align it better with the rest of society.

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