News: September 2017

Speech on good governance and moderation of related panel discussion at 2017 Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa Summit

Michael Pedersen gave a speech on good governance and moderated a related panel discussion at the 2017 Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa Summit. The 3-day Summit took place in Le Morne, Mauritius from 30 August to 1 September 2017. It brought together approx. 80 persons, comprising a mix of Laureus trustees and ambassadors and leaders of Laureus supported sport for development organizations and projects in South Africa.

In his speech, Michael Pedersen offered an international perspective on good governance in sport with a focus on its strategic importance, critical issues as well as the nature of evolving good governance practices across sports, countries and regions. As a basis for providing perspectives on how the effectiveness of governance standards of sport organizations can be increased, he engaged participants in collectively illustrating and reflecting on how sport is a reflection of society with all its beauty and all its flaws. This included sharing perspectives on behaviors and motivations of principled, unprincipled and followers in a sport organization – be it at political, operational and volunteer levels. Michael also shared results of recent trust surveys, indicating a strong link between trust in sport and good governance in sport. Last but not least, he provided some practical, process-oriented tools for carrying out governance risk assessments and for developing strategies for stakeholder engagement.

Subsequently, Michael Pedersen moderated a panel session on good governance. The session was focused on South African sport for development organizations’ governance challenges and solutions in general and on child protection in particular. The panelists were as follows:

  • Cindy Ross, Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy
  • Robyn Cohen, Waves For Change
  • Denis Handley, Coolplay Trust
  • Luke Lamprecht, Fight With Insight

Among other interesting insights emerging from the panel discussion and contributions by the audience, there was a general consensus that transparency and accountability remain big challenges to South African sport for development organizations. That was also the case for recruiting and retaining board members with the right mix of experience, expertise, skills, network and qualities of character.

In addition to the general governance discussions, many interesting insights emerged too from the specific discussions related to child protection. Among many aspects covered, challenges such as ensuring comprehensive and adequate policies on child protection and ensuring policy effectiveness by nurturing ethics and integrity based organizational cultures were highlighted. Particularly principled discussions evolved around what the nature of child protection issues look like, and the extent to which a sport for development organization can and ought to take responsibility for what happens to a child outside its own organization and activities. There was a general consensus that adequate and effective solutions include comprehensive training and mentoring for everyone with child contact on a continued basis as well as annual checks for child related offences in the national criminal register.

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa is an instrumental part of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The goal of the Foundation is to help young people overcome the limitations imposed by challenging social issues such as poverty, homelessness, war, violence, drug abuse, discrimination and AIDS. The Foundation supports and assists sport for development organizations and programs that educate children, protect the vulnerable from illness and bring people from divided communities together in friendship.

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