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27 Jul 2021 | 9:09

Masha Gloukhovski is one of three new Board members of the Sport for Development Coalition. Masha is Managing Director and Head of Global Sovereign Advisory Group at JP Morgan, and here she outlines what she hopes to achieve and contribute to the Coalition during her three-year term on the Board

“I applied to join the Board because I was impressed with the breadth of, potentially, what the Coalition offers, and the depth of the exercise – at least for what it could potentially mean for society. Having worked with a lot of governments globally, I realise how little attention is usually paid to sports….. I think the more successful we are in selling sports to the younger generation, the healthier they will be both mentally and physically. The returns to the governments who invest in this aspect of development are tremendous because then you will spend less and less on healthcare. That's not the analysis that governments do unfortunately and not in depth, so I think the Coalition is very well placed for that type of advocacy.

“I would like the Government to be more aware of what sport for development means, because I think there's a lot of misunderstanding in the conceptAs a result, investment is short. So if we can get more sort of investment and more awareness, I think that will be a huge success. We're starting from a fairly low point so, in a way, the only way is up. And obviously the other side of it is getting people aware – and frankly parents and teachers aware – of how important it is to dedicate time to physical activities because that will set their kids up for mental challenges as well.

“We can raise awareness and understanding of the ‘intentionality’ behind sport for development through the directness of messages, we really need to outline some of the goals, and – I know the Coalition is trying to do this – through analytical evidence. Which is why I strongly believe that the wider distribution of surveys could potentially help us with this momentum to build a better case, and to prove our point to the Government. At the end of the day, governments need to sell their strategies to their constituents, and it will make it easier for them if we provide them with the analytical evidence.

“The skillset that I can bring to the Coalition’s Board is understanding the Government's mentality; maybe less so at the Ministry of Sports but more so at the Ministry of Finance, because that is the ministry that controls the purse, and these are the entities that I work with globally to understand how they think, because they need to allocate their money and they need very strong justification for allocating their budgets.” 

Read more: Coalition unveils three new Board members following governance reform