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The Observatory for Sport in Scotland was founded with strong European connections, but it is widening its reach with a new African and Australasian partners.

The African Sports Centre and Australian Sports Foundation have followed European institutes in joining forces with the OSS to share research and insights and support collaborative learning around effective policy and practice in widening participation in sport globally.
“We’re excited to be teaming up with the Observatory for Sport in Scotland as this facilitates our aim of taking a greater interest in community sport,” said ASC Chief Executive Prince Narkortu Teye. “Our focus over the last few years has been largely on elite sport and performance, but there are equally important areas that need attention.
“A powerful tool for development, sport has the ability to boost health, wellbeing, inclusivity and connectivity at community, national and continental levels in addressing issues such as crime, anti-social behaviour, community cohesion and social mobility. For the many challenges we have here in Africa, it’s important we take an interest in community sport and research and data help our knowledge and understanding of our situation and to make informed developmental decisions that shape national and continental policies.
“This move is not only in line with our mission of championing the use of scientific and technical methodologies and innovations for the development of sport, largely by data, research and technology, but also contributes to our target of boosting four of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): (3) Good Health and Wellbeing, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
“There’s obviously power in collaboration and we are happy to share and exchange knowledge with the OSS, and consider joint research projects. In this, we will not only benefit from the resources available at the OSS but also connect into their like-minded partner organisations around the world.”
Patrick Walker, Chief Executive of the Australian Sports Foundation, commented: “We are delighted to partner with the Observatory for Sport in Scotland. Both organisations have a similar passion for understanding and supporting community sport in all its forms and as it benefits all ages and abilities, and so the opportunity to share learning from our work across Australia and tap into the OSS work and its network of European partners is fantastic. We look forward to developing the partnership in the coming months and years.”
OSS Chief Executive David Ferguson said: “We are delighted to form partnerships with the African Sports Centre and the Australian Sports Foundation, as we grow the reach of the OSS and our ability to bring learning from around the world to Scotland.
“The OSS was founded on learnings from the most active nations in Europe, notably the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries,  and we are now in contact with organisations further afield in Europe through the European Observatoire for Sport, and in the US, New Zealand, as well as Africa and Australia.
“These organisations share our values of using research, analysis and evidence to support the growth of participation in all forms of sport, and what we’re finding as we connect with more and more organisations globally is that the challenges we are facing in Scotland are very, very similar to those elsewhere. Therefore, there is significant collective intelligence building around how we tackle challenges such as inactivity, obesity, mental health, poverty and ageing – and of course now recovery from Covid – and where community sport activity can play a part in easing those pressures and improving quality of life.
“What I have found fascinating is how governments and sport organisations in different countries work together to tackle these issues, and how new collaboration across health, education and business is providing brighter futures. There is much we can learn but also much we can contribute to the learning in other countries.”
If you would like to join the OSS network, and our work to make sport activity accessible to everyone, get in touch – david@oss.scot.

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