Sport and Active Society

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The IOC’s commitment to promoting sport, reflected in Olympic Agenda 2020, is now taking a new step forward with the development grant offered by the Sport and Active Society Commission.

The IOC is thus encouraging organisations that use sport as a tool for social development to apply for four grants valued at CHF 20,000 each. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and International and National Sports Federations (including IOC-recognised International Federations) can submit their applications by 1 December 2019, and the winners will be announced in early 2020.

This year’s grants cover four themes. Candidates can apply for just one of the following themes, and must demonstrate how their project is aligned with the chosen theme:

1. Social Inclusion of Forcibly Displaced People through Sport and Physical Activity

The world today is facing an unprecedented emergency. According to the UNHCR, in 2018 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide, with the number of refugees reaching an all-time high of 25.9 million. This translates into an average of 25 people forced to flee their homes every minute. The consequences are concerning, and it is more important than ever to find solutions to support forcibly displaced groups.

Sport cannot solve this problem alone; however, it has proved itself to be a valuable and powerful tool to build bridges, cross borders and promote social cohesion.

This theme is focused on projects that provide opportunities for forcibly displaced people (including but not limited to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants) to engage in sport, with the aim of facilitating their social inclusion.

2. Promotion of Gender Equality through Sport and Physical Activity

All over the world, sport and physical activity participation levels among women and girls are generally lower than among men and boys. This can be attributed to the additional barriers and discrimination which females face, as well as the consequences of having less access and fewer opportunities to participate in sport and physical activity. Gender equality concerns all of us, women and men, old and young, which is evidenced by its inclusion in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (no. 5). As a social tool, sport can undeniably provide a powerful platform to promote gender equality and female empowerment.

This theme is focused on projects that provide increased opportunities for sports and physical activity participation among women and girls.

3. Tackling Climate Change and Protecting the Environment through Sport and Physical Activity

Sport and physical activity are influential and valuable tools which can contribute towards sustainable development, tackling climate change and promoting the conservation of our environment. A few ways to make such an impact can be to:

  1. Promote and further develop forms of sport which are compatible with nature and the environment. 
  2. Make sport and physical activity-related infrastructure more environmentally compatible.
  3. Organise sports practices that are eco-friendly (e.g. use of recyclable materials, beverages, packaging, etc.).
  4. Promote active mobility.
  5. Reduce damage to environmentally vulnerable areas through sport.
  6. Develop environmentally sustainable sports organisations.

This theme is focused on projects seeking to provide access to sport for all, with a positive impact on the environment.

4. Promotion of Sport and Physical Activity Participation through Innovation

Innovation is a cornerstone of today’s society which impacts all aspects of our daily lives. Sport and physical activity are no exception to this, as new ideas, new concepts and new technologies are every day transforming the way we engage populations to participate in sport and physical activity.

This theme is focused on projects that use innovative practices, measures and/or technology to increase participation rates in sport and physical activity within the communities they operate in and/or across the wider population.

The regulations for applying for this year’s Sport and Active Society Commission development grant can be found here (French and Spanish version). The deadline for the 2020 edition of the Sport and Active Society Development Commission Grants has passed. Please check out this page for more information about the selected recipients and the application process for the next year’s edition.

In the past, organisations such as FundLife International, Terres en Mêlées, Altus Sport and Cross Cultures Project Association Macedonia have been awarded grants by the IOC, evidencing the positive impact that sport has throughout the world. 


The IOC has long recognised that it has a significant advocacy role to play in the promotion of sport and physical activity at all levels around the world. This advocacy role has been reflected in the Olympic Agenda 2020 – the strategic road map for the future of the Olympic Movement - and is part of the "Olympism in action" programmes along with the Olympic Day, Olympic Values and Education, Women in Sport or Peace through Sports programmes for example.

Globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough and more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active (World Health Organization). Let’s reverse this trend and get moving!

The IOC and its Sport and Active Society Commission have designed a useful toolkit for organisations across the Olympic Movement that are managing Sport for All programmes available under this section. It provides them with the knowledge, understanding and tools needed to improve existing programmes worldwide, as well as to create new ones.

Get inspired by more than 45 projects around the world
Learn more about best practices with our toolkit
Create your project based on proven academic research and experience of organisations
Share your experience and lead the way to inspire more projects
Connect with a vast network fueled by inspired partners

Learn more with the Toolkit

Sport and Active Society Toolkit

A guide to implementation


Case studies


IOC Young Leaders Programme

The IOC Young Leaders programme, launched in 2016, empowers talents to leverage the power of sport to make a positive difference in their communities.
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