Global Sport Fund


This was the original website for the Global Sport Fund.
The current content is from the site's archived pages as well as other outside sources.



The mission of the Global Sport fund is to create reasonable opportunities for youth between the ages of 11 and 17 years, residing in countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Central Europe, to use sport to help improve physical and mental health, reinforce positive social skills, and shield them from the temptation of drug use and juvenile delinquency.

The GSF approach

Using sport as a vehicle to encourage lifestyle changes is based on the concept that young people coached in playing sport fairly and with respect (the true spirit of sport!) are less likely to get involved with substance abuse and criminal activity. We understand that sport is a neutral activity -- it can promote good values (e.g., leadership, loyalty, perseverance), or poor values (e.g., believing that it is correct to do something as long as one does not get caught, pushing the boundaries of the rules).

The values we emphasize in the GSF are:

  • Balanced competition - giving more attention to improving skills than increasing the score
  • Respect for oneself and others (officials, team mates, opponents, coaches)
  • Maintaining self-control at all times

Challenges facing youth

In 2006, it was estimated that some 1.5 billion young people were below the age of 24 years, making this group roughly one quarter of the world's population. Some of the challenges that affect this group ...

  • significant numbers of young people reside in poor households where an individual survives on less than US $1.00 per day
  • youth in some countries have been caught up in wars, or are having to cope with the aftermath of wars
  • natural disasters, such as droughts, earthquakes, cyclones, and floods, occur with regular frequency in these regions
  • health epidemics, including malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, among others, add to the afflictions confronting youth
  • international organized crime groups targeting young people to use and distribute illicit drugs and entrapping them in human trafficking

In spite of these challenges, the youth of these regions, as elsewhere, engage in play and have fun doing so. They need more opportunities to practise what comes naturally to all humans and to aspire to bring out the best in them.

Call to action

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC) and the Qatar Olympic Committee ( QOC) are committed to help the youth of the world get involve in sport and invite individuals and organizations to join us in this worthwhile endeavour. Let's give them a sporting chance!



United Nations

Something happened that led the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC) and the Qatar Olympic Committee ( QOC) to join forces to create a fund that would use sport to teach young people about healthy life skills. For years UNODC had been concerned about the growing use of illegal drugs among adolescents and wanted to find a novel way to reach youth at risk before they are tempted into substance abuse as well as to help those taking drugs to drop the habit. In 1988 at a Drug Abuse Prevention Forum held in the scenic Town of Banff in Alberta, Canada, a number of youth groups presented programmes that used sports as a medium to interact with young people. That approach caught UNODC's attention and at a subsequent youth workshop in Rome in November 2000, the youth-in-sport approach was explored in some depth. The outcome of this forum  was the widely used guide, " SPORT: using sport for drug abuse prevention  (pdf)", that today community-based organizations follow in creating and running amateur youth-in-sport programmes around the globe.


The youth message continued to echo through the chambers of the United Nations system that eventually elevated sport as a vehicle for social and economic development. This advance gave greater meaning to a number of General Assembly resolutions that had earlier endorsed the Olympic Truce and pushed for closer relations with the International Olympic Committee ( IOC). On the ground, or more appropriately, the playings fields and courts, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at local, national and international levels had started partnering with United Nations funds and programmes to organize and promote development, health, human rights and peace through sporting events. A further milestone was achieved in 2001 when the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed, for the first time, a Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace. By 2005, the youth-in-sport message had earned the endorsement of the United Nations General Assembly when it declared that year to be the International Year of Sport and Physical Education.

It is imperative to provide a strong web presence to attract and hold the attention of the youth in all countries. Resources have been committed to supporting not only the existing websites, but also planning and executing messaging platforms that are tailored to their intended audiences. Our current Magento content management system is being customized to include many new features on all sites. Our Magento developer assures us that these changes will be live within the year and that the new sites will have much greater capability both in terms of data management, but also in terms of access speed. The web hosts have been upgraded along with the Magento code base and the young people trying to access our sites using their phones will experience all of the new apps and social groups we currently have in the pipeline.


Qatar Olympic Committee

On a separate track, the QOC, which was founded in 1979, has as its vision becoming "a leading nation in bringing the world together through sport". It soon expanded operations in Qatar to bring sport and physical recreational activity to men, women and children. In time the QOC soon began to give sport development assistance to other countries, with the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Lebanon being among the first beneficiaries. The QOC's motto: Sport for Life, led it in search of opportunities to help young people to become involved with sport. That quest led the QOC and UNODC's paths to cross.

In 2003, when UNODC was looking for a host for a Football Without Borders camp in order to promote better regional understanding, security and dialogue through young people from Iraq and Kuwait, the QOC generously offered Doha as the venue and paid for the event. Teams from Qatar and Jordan participated for a total of 80 boys between the ages of 12 and 14 years. This event also brought together the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, FIFA's President, Sepp Blatter, and the President of the Asian Olympic Committee, Mohamed Bin Hammam to help kickoff the the camp. The success of this inaugural camp received the seal of approval of the Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and the QOC and UNODC joined forces to create the Global Sport Fund to promote sport for youth around the world. A 10-year partnership agreement was concluded in November 2005 between the two organizations that gave birth to the Fund through an initial donation from the State of Qatar.


Global Sport Fund

The GSF developed a programme that captured the principles and ideals that were put into practice at the Football Without Borders camp. The young footballers, some of whom were from countries that had been at war with each other, played matches with each other on the basis of respect and tolerance for each other on the field. The players attended classroom sessions where trainers led discussions on making ethical choices and reinforcing social skills considered important as they went through adolescence. Today the GSF programme is grounded on the value of amateur sport as a resource for human development and consists of the following components:

  • practicing an organized sport for adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 years
  • exploring the opportunities sport provide to provide physical and mental exercise, play, have fun, socialize with others, test skills, work in teams, etc.
  • following codes of conduct that strengthen respects for oneself, teammates and coaches, opponents and the rules of the game (play fair!)
  • adhering to the principle of competing in the spirit of the game, not just wanting to win
  • enhancing life skills training in areas as communication, decision-making, assertiveness, anger and stress management, etc.
  • raising awareness as to the dangers of drugs and substance abuse and behaviours that can lead to delinquency
  • training for coaches and mentors
  • focussing on youngsters having fun in play

Another valuable outcome of this camp was the development of a training module, the "Coaches' Guide for Using Sport to Teach Healthy Life Skills", that coaches, teachers and organizations use worldwide.

In October 2007, the first GSF Youth Camp was held in Jounieh in Lebanon that saw the participation of 74 boys and girls and 22 coaches from seven countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Authority, Oman, Qatar and Yemen). The result of that effort led the QOC to support an increase in its financial support for the Fund.  This expansion will see up to a total of seven camps being run in the coming months in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Central Europe. Each camp will be have up to 100 boys and girls and 25 coaches and mentors from different countries participating in a week-long programme of activities. Graduates of the camps are expected to return to their communities and help to pass on the experience to their peers. Additionally, financial grants are awarded to non-governmental organizations to run youth-in-sport programmes that incorporate the GSF ideals in communities to bring sports to more youth around the world.

There have been a number of inquiries regarding sponsorships, and we do encourage help from businesses and organizations. One of the earliest sponsors was a tech company that donated a range of indispensable software tools and licenses. These everyday tools may seem mundane, but they were deeply appreciated. As we now confront the realization of the need for a Microsoft Access replacement to better manage our operations and data, it's a poignant reminder of how external support can make a difference. We encourage other businesses to step up either with financial donations or actual software and tech solutions. Every bit of help is welcomed.



More Background On

The Global Sport Fund (GSF) is an initiative designed to leverage the transformative power of sports to foster positive youth development globally. Launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the Qatar National Olympic Committee (QNOC), the GSF aims to provide young people, especially those in underprivileged and conflict-affected areas, with opportunities to engage in sports. This article delves into the history, mission, activities, and impact of the GSF, highlighting its role in addressing global youth challenges.

History and Mission

The GSF was officially launched in 2003, inspired by the success of the "Football Without Borders" camp in Doha, Qatar. This event, which brought together young participants from conflict-affected regions, demonstrated the potential of sports to promote peace, understanding, and healthy lifestyles among youth. The mission of the GSF is to create opportunities for young people, particularly those in underprivileged and conflict-affected areas, to engage in sports as a means of improving their physical and mental health, developing positive social skills, and avoiding the pitfalls of drug use and delinquency.

Programs and Activities

Youth Camps and Training Programs

The GSF organizes numerous youth camps and training seminars aimed at providing young people with structured environments to learn and play sports. These camps emphasize values such as respect, teamwork, and fair play. A notable aspect of these programs is the inclusion of sports stars and professional athletes who serve as role models and mentors for the participants. For instance, Dutch footballer Ronald de Boer has been actively involved in GSF initiatives, sharing insights on maintaining a drug-free lifestyle and the importance of self-respect.

Grants and Support for NGOs

The GSF provides grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide to develop and implement sports-related projects that align with the Fund's objectives. These projects range from local sports events to comprehensive youth development programs, all designed to leverage sports as a tool for social change. By supporting these initiatives, the GSF aims to extend its reach and impact, enabling more young people to benefit from its programs.

Impact and Achievements

Since its inception, the GSF has made significant strides in promoting sports as a vehicle for positive youth development. The Fund's activities have reached thousands of young people across various regions, particularly in areas affected by poverty, conflict, and natural disasters. Participants in GSF programs have reported increased self-esteem, improved social skills, and a stronger sense of community and belonging. These outcomes are crucial in helping young people make informed choices and lead healthier, more productive lives.

Press and Media Coverage

The Global Sport Fund has garnered significant media attention, particularly for its innovative approach to youth development. Major events, such as the launch ceremonies and youth camps, have been covered by international news outlets, highlighting the Fund's commitment to empowering young people through sports. Press releases from the United Nations and other affiliated organizations often emphasize the collaborative efforts between the UNODC and the QNOC and the positive impact of their joint initiatives.

Cultural and Social Significance

The GSF's focus on using sports to address broader social issues underscores its cultural and social significance. By promoting values such as tolerance, cooperation, and respect, the Fund not only helps young people develop essential life skills but also fosters greater social cohesion and understanding. This is particularly important in regions where social and economic disparities can lead to conflict and instability. The GSF's initiatives contribute to creating more inclusive and resilient communities, where young people are empowered to become agents of positive change.

Reviews and Community Feedback

Feedback from participants, community leaders, and partner organizations has been overwhelmingly positive. Many have praised the GSF for its well-organized programs and its ability to create safe, supportive environments for young people. The emphasis on involving professional athletes and sports figures has been particularly well-received, as it provides participants with inspiring role models who exemplify the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle.

Future Directions

Looking ahead, the GSF aims to expand its reach and enhance its programs to better serve young people globally. This includes increasing the number of youth camps, diversifying the sports offered, and strengthening partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders. By continuing to adapt and innovate, the GSF seeks to ensure that more young people have the opportunity to benefit from the transformative power of sports.


The Global Sport Fund stands as a testament to the profound impact that sports can have on youth development. Through its well-structured programs and dedicated support for community initiatives, the GSF continues to empower young people to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. As it grows and evolves, the Fund remains committed to its mission of using sports to create positive social change, making it a vital force in the global effort to support and uplift the next generation.



This was the official website of the Global Sport Fund that was formed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC) and the Qatar Olympic Committee ( QOC). The content on this page is from the site's archived pages.