Slum: The term has traditionally referred to housing areas that were once relatively affluent but which deteriorated as the original dwellers moved on to newer and better parts of the city but have come to include the vast informal settlements found in cities in the developing world. Some slums like Dharavi, Mumbai, host businesses and industries which attract population from rural areas in a process of “deruralization”.

Specific groups this Activity Box applies to

All urban or rural settlements are mainly in non-developed countries and can be formal or informal. Examples:

  • Africa: Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi (Kenya): +700,000.
  • Middle East: Dharavi in Mumbai (India): +1,000,000 and Orangi Town in Karachi (Pakistan): +2,400,000.
  • Américas: Neza (Mexico): +1,200,000 and Complexo do Alemao, Rocinha and other favelas in Rio de Jainero (Brasil): +300,000.


  • One billion people worldwide live in slums and the figure will likely grow to 2 billion by 2030.
  • Over 50% of slum dwellers are children and youths (86).
  • Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi (Kenya) with + 700,000 and Dharavi in Mumbai (India) +1,000,000 residents are one of the world´s largest slums (87).

Why is it so important

Contribution: Sport can improve the situation in slums in these aspects:

  • Development of life skills to underprivileged children: leadership teamwork, self-esteem.
  • Build trust across class divides.
  • Broadening social ties and therefore reducing violence.
  • Safe spaces for recreation that prevents risk factors.
  • Vehicle for the transmission of healthy values.

International endorsement: UN Habitat
Suggests that at least 15 percent of urban areas should be allocated for open and green spaces and public facilities. (85)

Agenda 2030: SDG 11.3 and 11.7
Integrating opportunities for Sport, physical education and physical activity throughout such spaces and across urban environments can have widespread and long-term impacts. (85)

Barriers to sport that should be overcome

  • Lack of adequate Sport facilities, parks and equipment.
  • Sense of insecurity limits the practice of Sport due to extended delinquency and violence.
  • Youths have other interests: being part of gangs, clubbing, video games, etc.
  • Lockdowns and other measures of self-isolating obliged by COVID19 had a tremendous effect on the well-being of people in slums, not only limiting access to Sport but also increasing other social issues.
  • Traditional Sport (e.g., football) reduce interest in other types of Sport or possibilities of doing physical activity.

Tips and key success factors

Inclusive approach as slums gather different potentially vulnerable groups:

  • Encourage non-competitive programmes.
  • Ensure the inclusion of girls and women, persons with disabilities, individuals living in poverty, migrants and refugees, indigenous people, out-of-school and unemployed youth, and other socially and economically excluded groups.

Overcoming spaces constraints

  • Normally it is more effective to start the activities using existing facilities within the neighbourhood, such as youth or community centre, NGOs or even a park.
  • Use existing social spaces where people interact in natural ways as places Sport activities: Markets, hospitals, schools, street corners, cattle dips, youth clubs.
  • Newly created Sport spaces can be combined with other important community uses (e.g., art room, library, health) to maximize their attraction and use (See example in Available Resources section).

Building local capacities

  • Attract skilled and trained personnel — teachers, coaches, that can multiply and spread methodologies to local leaders and former participants.
  • Empower other potential supporters, including Community workers and volunteers.

Recycled materials

  • Facilitate access to low-cost equipment and other support for participation.
  • Ensure the greatest possible participation through access to Sport clothing, adaptive equipment for persons with disabilities, sanitary products for girls and women, etc.

Other tips:

  • Leverage resources: Utilize partnerships, shared initiatives with other organisations, and participation in broader learning and knowledge exchange processes.

Available resources

  • Ultimate Frisbee is changing India´s slums Click Here
  • Slum golf in Chembur Slum, including a version of the game using homemade clubs and ball Click Here
  • Slums Dunk project using basketball Click Here
  • Olaleye, Lagos, the slum that produced Odiye, Okoku, and other Sport stars Click Here
  • International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA): Plans to revitalize Bangkok’s urban slums Click Here
  • “Isaac Pitch”, a multi-activity field in the heart of Kibera slums Click Here

Sample case

Nairobi’s Korogocho slum
(NGO Terres des Homens)

  • The concept is built on the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which can be translated to “I am because we are”.
  • Encourages neighbours to support each other.
  • Focuses on the family as the center of wellbeing and protection for a child.
  • Creates a bond within the community, which is in charge of the wellbeing of their children.
  • In return, children have more than just one problem solver to turn to.

More information:

  • Fighting violence in Nairobi’s Korogocho slum. Click here

Other best practices: 

  • FITB has initiated many projects for tchoukball devopment in Africa, tchoukball volunteering and developing programme is one of them. Click here