Sport for Post-Disaster Relief

By Dina Bernardo, SportPhil Founder

The Philippines sustained numerous devastation in 2013. Below are four (4) relief efforts that used sports to give affected places something to root for past their post-disaster problems.

Can Sport be the Answer?

Since 2002, the Swiss Academy for Development (SAD) have researched and documented the timely and purposeful administration of sports for relief in post-disaster and post-conflict situations. In a country ridden with disasters, the Philippines is wanting of local examples and research to support the benefits of sport.

The Sport Management Council of the Philippines (SportPhil) has been a strong advocate of Sport for Development. It has harnessed local sport scientists and psychology experts to launch a program building the capacity of teachers and coaches in the use sport for psychosocial relief, aptly coined “RePlay, ReLive and ReCreate – Community Resilience through Sports” or R3.

 

  1. With the Korean New Sports Association – September 1 and 2, 2014, in St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc. (STEFTI)

Synopsis from YouTube channel video

The Philippines sustained the world’s strongest typhoon last November 8, 2013. To date, many are still homeless and in despair.

Heeding the call to help through sports, AASM member Prof. Hyungil Kwon of Chung Ang University gathered his students and partnered with Korean New Sports Association, International Sports Relations Foundation (ISR) and Samsung to train teachers from Bethel International School and St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc. (STEFTI) for the donation and training of the use of “modified” sports equipment known for its safety and ease – in order to encourage wide participation and inclusion of children in physical activity.  In return, the teachers are tasked to reach out to other beneficiary schools and execute the same. In so doing, multiplying the impact of the assistance, beyond what was initially given.

 

  1. With the Center for Sport, Peace and Society in Tacloban

In light of the Tacloban disaster in November 2013, University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace and Society proponents Dr. Ashleigh Huffman and Dr. Sarah Hillyer visited Tacloban from March 9 to 11, 2014, to conduct sport-based psychosocial interventions. These interventions aim to restore wellbeing through physical activities within the context of local traditions, needs and resources. In disaster situations, they are designed to create a safe and structured environment for survivors and reinforce social cohesion.

100 days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated Leyte, a team composed of members from the Sport Management Council, U.P. College of Human Kinetics, the International Emergency and Development Aid (IEDA), together with the US Department State funded Dr. Huffman and Dr. Hillyer, and Initiated the program “RePLAY, ReLIVE, ReCREATE*,” which entailed the administration of purposeful and intentional physical activities for psychosocial relief in post-disaster victims.

A State Department video, where it can also give you an idea and the synopsis.

The main objective was to capacitate teachers and trainers on the use of sport and physical activity for psychosocial relief. The participating schools and institutions were: from the Private schools – Sacred Heart Seminary, Bethel International School, and St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc. (STEFTI);  from the government schools – UP Tacloban, Palo National High School, Eastern Visayas State University, and Leyte National High School; from the LGU – Tacloban City Sports Council, and Leyte Sports Academy.

Observations and narratives from the participants were analyzed after three months to reveal themes that clarified the suitability of the interventions: participants and their wards developed changes in perspective – from helplessness to feeling of empowerment, to ability to “look forward” and to commit towards community rebuilding. More importantly, sport-based interventions continued even after the initial relief has gone.

 

  • Project “Sport for Love” in Tacloban, Leyte

Barely two months after Typhoon Haiyan struck, Dr. Kong-Ting Yeh, President of the Asian Association of Sport Management (AASM) launched the campaign “Sport for Love” with the goal of comforting the victims of the disaster through sport. After months of organizing and soliciting, the day finally came on August 26 and 27, 2015, for Dr. Yeh and his student James Hao of the National Taiwan Sport University, to bring slacklining to Tacloban, Leyte.

Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking, but using a flat piece of webbing tied between supporting structures or anchors. The activity began in the 1980s among mountain climbers, who during days of rest, would tie climbing ropes between trees to see  if they could balance, jump or do stunts.

Slacklining

Today, slacklining has grown in popularity among the young and old, from the recreational to serious enthusiasts, due to the ease of use of the equipment and the benefits derived in developing balance and core strength.  Psychologically, slacklining improves concentration, confidence and encourages interpersonal interaction among its participants.

Such was the case when Dr. Yeh and James set up the Slackline at the People’s Park in Tacloban, Leyte to demonstrate and teach the workers from the International Emergency and Development Aid (IEDA) on the use of slacklining for their outreach work at the relief centers.

The activity instantly drew curiosity from those who ventured to try, not only from among the students but even adults, who could not resist the lure of “play” – their spirits buoyed with each attempt on the flat web, whether they were successful at it or not.  For sure, each participant went home afterwards feeling refreshed and raring to conquer another day towards recovery.

Our heartfelt thanks to Gibbon Slackline, the National Taiwan Sport University and AASM, for showing us once again, the power of sport.

 

  • “Understanding the Dynamics of Sports-Based Interventions” Seminar in Zamboanga

Training SeminarA post-conflict seminar for Zamboanga – October 9 and 10, 2014 at Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) in Zamboanga City, titled “Understanding the Dynamics of Sports Based Interventions,” were attended by students and teachers from Ateneo de Zamboanga and University of Zamboanga. A talk on sports management and sport-based psychosocial interventions were held. Sport psychologist and international author Dr. Marissa Adviento-Guinto, who did a research on “Mind of a Champion,” interviewing the likes of Paeng Nepumoceno, Eugene Torre, Manny Pacquiao, Efren Bata Reyes and Bong Coo, also conducted a compelling lecture.