Guest post: Nike, CSR in South Africa, and Sport for Social Change

via Google Images

via Google Images

I have recently been in touch with Aykan Gulten, a member of Nike’s Sustainable Business & Innovation team.  He is based in Amsterdam and is responsible for projects in Africa, Europe, and Middle East.  How cool, right?

Aykan also authors the blog Social Agenda where you can learn more about CSR and Nike from an insider’s perspective and his recent trip to Milan for the Homeless World Cup.   You can also  follow him on Twitter @AykanGulten.

He was kind enough to write a guest post about the Sport for Social Change Network Nike has sponsored and facilitated in South Africa.  The pictures included are also from Aykan.  Big thanks to Aykan!!!


Nike CSR South AfricaWhen I discovered “World Cup and CSR” blog, I thought I could contribute. Having been involved in sports based social programs in S. Africa, this is an area which I believe I have valuable experience and knowledge that I can share with people. I am working for “Nike Sustainable Business and Innovation” with a focus on sustainable development projects and partnerships. I had opportunities to visit beautiful S.Africa and observe some great CSR programs on the ground. But instead of writing about those individual programs, I wanted to write about a network initiative for them; Sport for Social Change Network.

The Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) is a four-year global initiative (2006-2010) using sport to achieve social change. The overall goal of the SSCN is to promote the use of sport as a vehicle to achieve lasting social change. The SSCN is achieving this by contributing to sports initiatives by building capacity of local organizations; increasing the number of sports-based community development programs; contributing to the growing body of evidence which shows how sport can be used effectively in development; and finally, by providing funding to the sport-for-development sector demonstrating the value of sport in development.

P3060985In past years Nike has provided support for capacity building to a growing number of sport-based grassroots organizations through the SSCN. The SSCNs have become a key initiative under Nike’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy which seeks to grow a global movement around the use of sport as a tool for social change. Although the network is initiated by Nike, it is not exclusive and it is also open to social programs which are sponsored by the competitors.

Since 2006, together with other SSCN partners, Nike has organized several SSCN workshops and meetings in order to strengthen sport based organizations capacity, networking and sustainability. These workshops focused on topics relevant to the SSCN members such as: gender equity, measurement and evaluation tools, conflict resolution, advocacy, internet fundraising etc.NIKESSCN131108109

In November 2008, Nike employees, who are all experts at what they do, delivered training in subject matters where Nike has in-house expertise, such as branding, marketing, event management, digital marketing and storytelling to the representatives of NGO’s from S.Africa and neighboring countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. More than 50 enthusiastic and energized people from amazing organizations were present; ready to learn, share, make new connections brainstorm ideas and have fun – African style.

During those meetings, digital communication was one of the hot topics and participants from different organizations learned how to use digital technologies to create communities and to promote their good work. As a part of that training, we also created a digital social network for SSCN. If you want to be a member or just simply check out, the link is here:

IMG_0740The next step for SSCN is to make partner organizations take more responsibility in driving the activities of the network. In the beginning of 2009, request for proposals has been issued for the “convener role” of SSCN in S. Africa and as a result of the selection process, Altus Sports Vuma has been awarded with the convener role. This is the beginning of the new era and we are all excited about the future of SSCN. There is so much to do in S. Africa before and after the FIFA World Cup.

About the author: Aykan Gulten is a member of Nike Sustainable Business & Innovation team (previously called as Corporate Responsibility). He is responsible for partnering with social projects in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

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2 Responses

  1. John, another great guest. Thank you.

    Aykan, thank you for sharing your work and SSCN’s initiatives. Sports is such a powerful vehicle for cooperation, community and self betterment. I’m now following your blog as well. I’m a proponent of empowering local organizations to lead their own initiatives. Kudos to you and the Nike team for your work.

    My best,

  2. Hi Olivia,
    Thanks very much for your kind words. I found your blog very interesting. I am a true fan of partnerships between not-for-profits and for-profits. I will follow your posts.


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