Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Jo Clarke

Sport for development discourse and power dynamics: British and American NGOs in Cameroon

Photo of Jo Clarke

In the past two decades there has been a dramatic rise in the number of international sport-for-development Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in developing countries that use sport for the purposes of development.  Increasingly, NGOs deliver educational social and health messages (for example on HIV/AIDS awareness and gender equality) in combination with sports participation as a delivery tool. Despite an increasing breadth of study within this area to date, academic analysis rarely considers the dual views of international NGOs and local stakeholders. This study will explore the formal discourse through consideration of written text, verbal and non-verbal language and explore how the consequences of such discourses are played out. Subsequently an examination of the power dynamics associated with international NGOs and local Cameroonian delivery stakeholders will provide an account of local realities in order to consider to what extent the power dynamics associated within this context reproduce wider dynamics of post-colonialism.


I have an MA in Sport, Culture and Community from Sheffield Hallam University and currently work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Leeds Trinity University, where I teach across a number of Undergraduate programmes within the Department of Sport, Health & Nutrition alongside my PhD studies.

I volunteer as the country manager for Cameroon for a UK based Sport for Development NGO, Cricket Without Boundaries, who use Cricket as a tool to deliver HIV/Aids awareness messages in partnership with national Cricket Associations and health NGOs in five countries within Sub-Saharan Africa; Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. I have worked for the past 13 years predominantly within sports development in a variety of operational and strategic coaching and development roles in the UK and New Zealand. 

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I have worked as a volunteer practitioner in the sport for development sector since 2011 and through this PhD I wish to contribute towards the critical debates in the sector. Undertaking a PhD with a participatory focus of global north and south perspectives will improve my day-to-day understanding and practice of the sport for development sector, as well as my ability contribute to the wider practical and academic field.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

My background as a practitioner within traditional sport development and sport for development has enabled me to work alongside volunteers for many years in a variety of situations, which has fuelled my passion for this research. I feel that it is vitally important to gain a local perspective from international NGOs and local stakeholders to better understand the lived realities of partnerships within sport for development. 

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

To move into a lecturing post which will enable me to continue teaching and progress my career as an active researcher.

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