The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a ubiquitous shriek to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that people enjoy peace and prosperity in the world. And Ghana is no exemption to the call.
The SDGs were adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ran their full life cycle. The essence of the goals is to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.
Fortunately for Ghana, our current president, Nana Akufo-Addo and his predecessor, John Mahama have taken turns to wear the enviable crown of co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals Advocates. This should count for something.
Over the years, sports have proven to be a tool in development in Ghana. With the world changing and gradually becoming a singular unit with many components as countries, there is the need to see sports as an important tool in realizing all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ghana.
In order to be able to harness this tool for effective nation-building prospects, it is important for all sporting activities, whether major or minor be seen as a consequential instrument in realizing these SDG’s.
Sports in Ghana can be used as a platform to speak on achieving these 17 global goals. This article provides an understanding of how it can be realized in Ghana.
SDG 1 and 2: Focus on the amputee national team
SDG 1 and 2 are on reducing poverty and hunger respectively. Sports is an avenue to express oneself through their talent. These athletes can use the sport as a platform to help solicit for funds to generate revenue for poverty programmes and to facilitate the mobilization of resources to raise the living conditions of people.
Per reports by the United Nations, there is a strong bi-directional link between poverty and disability.
In our part of the world, once a person suffers one disability or the other, he or she becomes unemployable and with that comes poverty.
So paying attention to persons with disability who have sporting talents or interests could help raise these people from poverty.
Disability can cause poverty by preventing the full participation of persons with disabilities in the economic and social offerings of their communities, especially if the appropriate supports and accommodations are not available.
As such, it is important to focus on the Ghana Amputee Football Association which has struggled to gather funds for their athletes to even represent the country in tournaments.
Little attention is given to them and in realizing SDG 1 and 2 in a bid to eradicate poverty, persons with disability should be a source of hope in sports and as such, they must be adequately funded and paid to cut down poverty and hunger.
In the United States of America, sports facilities such as Lakeshore, and Huff Hall Gym are readily available for athletes to train and prepare for events. However, in Ghana, there is zilch.
SDG 4: Our ladies, our future
SDG 4 talks about quality education. Education here encompasses formal and even informal and other forms of training and apprenticeship programs. On the national plane, we see a lot of efforts going into education. The Free SHS programme, for example, is a major game changer and is a major cost centre for government.
In a bid to provide quality education for everyone, there should be in place a national academy to train female athletes, coaches, and referees.
This should be a holistic task to help these ladies who want to have a career in sports have an understanding of their body, build their mental capacities as well as harness their talents to get recognition for themselves and the country as well. It is important to note the role of women in nation-building and therefore, attention must be given to ladies in the country and in sports especially.
The disparity in funding for female sports programmes compared to their male counterparts must change to encourage a lot more women into sports.
SDG 5 and 10: Equal payment for all
The gender pay gap cuts across almost every industry and sports is no different. But between particular sports, there are vast discrepancies in pay for men and women, ranging from tennis, where pay is comparable, to basketball, where players are in entirely different zip codes.
According to Forbes, tennis players are the only female athletes to rank among the overall top earners over the last decade with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and Li Na featuring in the list.
In sports, where much energy is exerted by athletes either male or female, it is important that athletes are treated equally.
In Ghana, just like many countries, female athletes, especially footballers are paid less.
The sad part of what happens in Ghana is that these female footballers and athletes have to beg for what is due to them after representing the country in a tournament.
In short, all athletes, despite your gender should receive equal pay.
SDG 9: Make use of technology
Creativity, innovation and artificial intelligence have become the currencies of the modern world.
As such, sports in Ghana is not insulated from the swift changes that are taking the world by surprise.
Ghanaian athletes now can have access to information on how to live a balanced life to be able to reach the apex in their careers.
Technological advancement has changed sports so much and Ghana needs to tap into it.
This will help in effective preparations for any other tournament and help win laurels for themselves and the country.
As everything becomes increasingly connected, there should be proper cohesion between the use of technology and sports development in the country.
Despite the challenges sports face in Ghana, it still carries vast positive power and the passion of it can help breed a peaceful world with equal opportunities, proper use of technology and the discovery of diverse ways to help make the world a better place for all.