Worldwide, emergency situations and crises have occurred throughout history and are likely to continue into the future. The African continent has experienced such emergency situations in the past, causing untold hardship to its citizens. These include natural, man-made and complex disasters such as drought, flooding, famine, war and, more recently, the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
These crisis situations impact regular aspects of life including socio-economic activities, sport and recreational activities. Whilst, understandably, physical education (PE), physical activity (PA) and sport may not be a priority during such times, it is important to recognise the crucial role of PA, PE and sport during such times to uplift the physical and mental well-being of people. During times of emergencies and crisis situations, it is particularly important to keep people – children, youth and adults alike – physically and mentally active.
Topics such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), mental health, safeguarding, child protection and gender equality have become specifically important to focus on during emergencies. Vulnerable people, such as people with disabilities, the elderly, women, and children, are particularly at risk in such crisis situations, and increasing the resilience of these groups is of vital importance.
Through sport, these topics can be addressed in a fun and engaging way and can help to promote a healthy lifestyle, even during a crisis. Sport and movement are ideal vehicles to enable participants to become more resilient and to raise their awareness and change behaviour on these important topics.