Why the ActiveVoice partners believe the project will make a difference to their work, their partners and members
and physical activity policy in EU countries. Selected responses from the 11 ActiveVoice partners.

How does the ActiveVoice project fit into your political and programmatic ambitions?

European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF): “ECF’s objective is to double the level of cycling in Europe by 2020 for both transport and recreation (including active and sustainable tourism). This is only possible if public sector bodies of all types engage in the creation of places where people can cycle easily and safely and provide the widest range of incentives for physical activity including promotion and financial incentives. It is vital to this work that cycling advocates align themselves with other NGOs, sports bodies and the public health sector to make increasing physical activity a cross-cutting topic for the public sector at all levels. We have already started some work in this area, providing education on the use of the WHO Europe “HEAT” tool, which calculates the economic benefits of cycling and walking. We believe we can substantially increase our reach and effectiveness by adding the EU PA guidelines to our education portfolio.”

BG Be Active, Bulgaria: “It is very important for us to have relevant and up-to- date information about the HEPA and sport for all situation in our country and to use it as evidence base in our communication with governmental institutions and stakeholders from all sectors. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to gather information that is specific for Bulgaria (aside from the Eurobarometer data) on our own, so the ActiveVoice project is a great response to a BG Be Active’s organisational need. This information could help us adjust our strategy and create or adjust the projects we are working on to better fit our objectives and our vision. Also, we are putting more effort and resources into building up not only our own capacity, but the capacity of our partners, and advocacy is one of the fields that we should have in mind.”

International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA): “A central part of ISCA’s political priorities is advocacy: advocacy for the grassroots sport sector in general and advocacy specifically to put topics on relevant political agendas. Advocacy is an important stepping stone, both at an international level and for ISCA members at a national level.”

What are your current advocacy strategies and actions and how can ActiveVoice add value to those?

European Healthy Stadia, UK: “The primary focus of Healthy Stadia's advocacy strategy in the next 12 months will be on the declaration of smoke-free sports stadia across Europe, with a major campaign launching at UEFA in February 2016. Within the field of physical activity, we will continue to work with governing bodies of sport to further prioritise grassroots sport and increase levels of participation e.g. with UEFA and World Rugby, and with organisers of mega events to ensure that active travel options are a mandatory feature of bidding criteria to host such events.”

Social Cooperative Enterprise Greenways, Greece: “As national coordinators for the NowWeMOVE campaign in Greece, public awareness and advocacy for the benefits of physical activity are at the core of our stategy until 2020. ActiveVoice can add value to our activities ​​and bring more stakeholders to our projects and activities. European partners can bring best practices and methodologies to our current interventions on physical activity.​ The project’s activities overall will strengthen our ​knowledge of EU sport policy and can contribute to increasing our cooperation opportunities and ​improve our relationship with public ​local and regional authorities.”

BG Be Active, Bulgaria: When we started coordinating MOVE Week in Bulgaria, we decided that we would try to secure support from as many relevant governmental institutions as possible (following the cross- sector approach of the campaign). Until 2015 we managed to receive support from 3 different ministries:

  • Ministry of Youth and Sport
  • Ministry of Education and Science
  • Ministry of Healthcare

We were also cautious about further political engagement because of the insecure political situation in the country and image of politicians in the society. As we are not willing to engage with them politically it’s very hard for us to build reliable communicational and working channels and relationships with any of those ministries. We are clearly recognising the need of such relationships and the ActiveVoice will develop our capacity to manage them.

Over the past 3 years, we’ve put our efforts into working with the media and we are trying to focus the public’s attention on the topic of physical inactivity and the problems that it can lead to. At the moment lack of physical activity is not seen as a problem by the society, so it hard to make an advocacy strategy and to be able to approach politicians and decision makers with a proposal that can clearly show their own benefits if they start working more in this area. ActiveVoice will provide the evidence base for our efforts here as well.

EPODE International Network (EIN), Belgium/France: “EIN’s advocacy and visibility actions from January 2016 are as follows: January 11 at IOM in Irvine California, January 25 with industry leaders from the middle east in Paris France, April 25-27 participation in a Google innovation lab in Mountain View California, May 18-20 building a healthier future summit in Washington DC, May 30 and 31 scientific conference in Montreal Canada, EIN Canadian Obesity Forum Toronto Canada September 2016, EIN European Obesity Forum in Amsterdam November 2016. Our advocacy strategy and action plan is still a work in progress.”

UISP, Italy: “Building relationships with public institutions, as well as with national and international social networks, are a daily commitment for UISP because we respond to social responsibility. We are an organisation situated the Italian Third Sector which performs its functions and aims to achieve its objectives by building relationships of subsidiarity with public policies at all levels, from local communities up to the national government and European institutions and international organisations. We have representative roles in the Olympic Committee and the organisational system of the Italian Third Sector and we are engaged in projects and good practices with other social organisations. The project therefore represents an opportunity for us to expand our system of advocacy by opening ourselves up to the knowledge of new realities and new relationships.”

Where would you like the “ActiveVoice train” to take your organisation?

European Healthy Stadia, UK: “We believe that sports clubs and governing bodies have an almost unique 'Voice' to positively affect levels of physical activity across Europe. The potential for sports clubs to use their brand, players and facilities to get local populations moving more has barely been realised to date, and yet good practice case studies are now starting to emerge in this area. We are keen to share these examples with new partners and in new countries, to demonstrate what can be achieved and to enact this at local level. In addition, we are also eager to learn from other partners about their own strategies and techniques to share with our network members, and to build a 'common voice' in a call for progressive policies within institutions (local, national, European) to promote physically active environments.”

V4Sport, Poland: “We believe that it is crucial to work in international partnerships of organisations dealing with the same/similar challenges, for example, lack of appropriate data in the area of physical activity to seek best possible solutions to the problems. Being part of an international alliance is also important to get greater recognition. Yet, we have to remember that each partner/country should be able to ‘use’ the project in a way they find appropriate to them. In our organisation we believe that the times of BIG strategies are long gone. Now it is more the path: SIMPLE IDEA - APPLY/TEST - SEE WHAT WORKED, WHAT DIDNT – WHAT’S NEXT.

UFOLEP, France: “The ‘SportVoice train’ (or training) may be useful at a local or regional level to help UFOLEP to understand how to communicate with politicians, universities and high schools, and social organisations. It can help the National Executive Committee to engage such an advocacy programme.”

How can we meet the objectives of the project and its individual partners at the same time?

ISCA: “We believe the common interest for all partners is to develop our creativity and capacity of our advocacy. There are many entities who have the desire to advocate towards the same target groups as we do – so we need to make sure to be the best.”

International Association of Sport and Leisure Infrastructure Management (IASLIM), Slovenia: “The Association will inform its 217 members in 34 countries about the ActiveVoice Project and invite them to join its activities. Members of the Association and other public institutions, private companies, municipalities, universities, business schools, sport associations, professionals, experts, national and regional associations of infrastructure operators, will improve the management of sport and leisure infrastructure by implementing the results of the project.”

UISP, Italy: “We can meet the project’s objectives by investing in the promotion of networking among partners, and by trying to follow the best practices to be carried out to understand how we can concretely affect the adoption of policies that will increase the number of active people. A project database could be a useful tool to understand the real impact of the change so we can create new network of alliances.”