Sports as a tool for youth development


Improving living conditions & empowering youth by building a sports center

In Lideta, a neighborhood in Addis Ababa, Cordaid and partners are working on empowering children and youth by building a multi-functional sports center. Sports are a strong tool to help children and youth with developing life skills. Sports activities by their nature demand perseverance, team work, discipline and leadership, which in turn nurture confidence and motivation for self-development.


  • Initiatives to improve the situation of slum dwellers
  • An area that is built through a multi stakeholder partnership


Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia with a population of 3.3 million. The population is relatively young: 36% of inhabitants are between the ages of 15 and 30. Youth in Addis Ababa are often confronted with unemployment and exclusion. Public sports facilities, even with minimum standards, are lacking in neighborhoods and schools. Where inner city slums renewal projects are underway, houses are being built upon the few existing sports fields. In some schools sports have become a classroom activity, limited to learning from exercise books. Moreover, there is limited awareness about the role of sports in empowering future generations, the health benefits of sports for the whole population and the right of citizens to access public recreational spaces. Also, the lack of locally-managed and cost-effective models of sports facilities creates a tendency to perceive sports facilities as costly and luxury ventures compared to other needs. Therefore, sports are not regarded as priority.

Initial situation

Cordaid has been active in Addis Ababa for several years. Since 2011, we have initiated a new way of thinking. We are working towards an integrative neighborhood approach in which we aim to improve multiple issues of slum life in cooperation with involved parties, such as local communities, the local authorities, the private sector and NGOs. The community and municipality are actively involved in each stage towards making this project a reality.


Our main goal is to improve the living conditions the Lideta neighborhood by contributing to reducing delinquent behaviors of youth. We aim to empower local youth through the creation of opportunities in the sectors of art, culture and sports. We hope to show youth new opportunities and forms of social cohesion, allowing them to focus and develop their artistic passion and skills.


  • Initiatives to improve the situation of slum dwellers
  • An area that is built through a multi stakeholder partnership

Target group

This project is an effort to address the needs of young people in the Lideta neighborhood. These are vulnerable and unemployed youth that are affected by a lack of proper life skill mentoring, career guidance and have lack of access to employment or livelihood opportunities.

Furthermore, we target women & youth associations, mandated local government offices, schools and youth- focused NGOs that are constrained by limited capacity and lack of coordination in their youth development services.

Project plan

Cordaid focuses on improving slums in developing countries. We convene and inspire the local community and other stakeholders to develop solutions and iron out a common vision. In Addis Ababa, we identified a slum area and developed an integrated neighborhood plan in cooperation with local and international partners. Solutions that target youth and children through sports are one component and aim at promoting sports as a tool for development in the neighborhood and schools of Woreda 01 in Lideta sub-city. Our goal is to implement the following activities:

▪ Initiate and mentor a multi-stakeholder process that involves local youth and women groups, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and mandated local government offices at neighborhood levels
▪ Revitalize neighborhood and school sports fields so that they can accommodate a variety of sports and encourage friendly participation for all
▪ Equip neighborhood volunteer coaches and school sports teachers in comprehensive coaching techniques (sports, life skills, counseling) through tailor-made trainings
▪ Facilitate ‘sport for all‘ campaigns and sports events in the neighborhood & schools to sensitize the community and authorities


In terms of the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and ecological), the multi-functional sports center will have a meaningful impact, significant benefits and play a major role in the economic vitality of the neighborhood of Lideta. Furthermore, the social dimensions of the sports center are essential in terms of democracy, inclusiveness and openness to all citizens, regardless of age, ability or gender.

Cordaid’s role is to link all the relevant actors (stakeholders) and coordinate the process of reaching agreements and working towards common goals that improve the lives of slum dwellers. Key words are networking, coordination, facilitation and partnerships.

By strengthening the capacity and capabilities of the youth in their areas of interest, we hope to inspire them to become involved in developing their own community and neighborhood into a place in which they want to live, work and recreate.

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