What does inclusion mean?

by NSA and SPIN

What does ‘inclusion’ mean?

Inclusion is a concept that has been widely spread across Europe; however, there is no single definition existing as the concept is encompassing a variety of scopes.

One definition was provided during the MINEPS V in 2013, which is the International Meeting of Ministers in Sport. There, in their efforts to ensure access to sport as a fundamental right for all, they have chosen to refer to inclusion as a sense of belonging, which includes respecting feelings, being valued for who you are, and feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others.

It was made clear that there should be commitment to embrace difference and value the contributions of all participants in sports, whatever their characteristics or backgrounds are.

Where does it come from?

Historically, inclusion derived from the concept of integration. However, whatever definition is used as regards inclusion in sports today, it is important that the concept of inclusion must not be mistaken with integration.

Integration often was or is just about a matter of location; e.g. organizing swimming sessions in the same facility at the same time, but still in separate courses.

Inclusion is not about just doing something alongside; it is about doing sports equally together, which is a process that cannot be achieved with a single action!

In its early years, inclusion in sport mostly aimed to avoid any kind of exclusion and fought for quality participation of persons with disabilities. Currently, inclusion in sport emphasises on including all members of society, regardless it is about any disability, poverty, or social, ethnical and religious background, etc.

Inclusion in sports aims at all levels; whether it is about developing physical education classes, sport for all activities or high-performance sports programmes.

Why should inclusion be supported?

Inclusion does not just happen by itself; it needs to be proactively driven by all stakeholders in sports!

Organisations dealing with disability-sports and para-sports may use the concept of inclusion to develop and sustain some of their sports, or to enrich participation; e.g. in sports where there is too less participants to form teams at the local levels, or in sports that require extensive resources such as sailing or horse-riding.

For organisations that organize EWoS events, fostering inclusion will create more participation, additional awareness and acceptance, respectively; at the same time this will support creating equality and social capital leading to more united communities.

How is inclusion referred to in this toolkit?

For the purpose of this Toolkit, the scope of inclusion focuses on full participation of persons with disabilities.

However, it is about providing a range of options for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, in the most appropriate manner possible.

Where to get support?

Support can be found by contacting us.