Date Published: 26 November 2008

International Inspiration to realise global vision for London 2012

The London 2012 bid team's promise in Singapore to engage and inspire the youth of the world through sport took a huge step forward today with the announcement of five more countries and a further £16 million of funding for the ?International Inspiration' programme.

Since its launch in January 2008 by the Prime Minister, the programme has been successfully piloted in five countries: Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Palau and Zambia. As a result the programme is now being extended, and has received the formal backing of the International Olympic Committee. This is the first time a host country has undertaken an international legacy programme of this kind, and to have International Inspiration formally recognised as a London 2012 initiative is a significant milestone.

Five new countries will be part of the second stage: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Mozambique and Trinidad and Tobago. The new funding is from the Department for International Development (DFID) with an additional £5.4m, and the British Council, which has made a pledge to match fund future income up to a total of £10.2 million. This backs up the £9million already invested by DFID, the British Council, UNICEF, DCMS and the Premier League.

International Inspiration is a unique partnership dedicated to creating lasting opportunities for children and young people of all abilities, in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play.

Positive change

The project works closely with Education and Sport Ministries, National Olympic and Paralympic Committees to deliver high quality sport and PE in both schools and communities. This ensures that the vision for the programme is taken on by governments and local communities, thus leaving a lasting legacy in the countries and communities embraced by the project. The programme has in its first year already achieved a significant amount of positive action and change, including:

* In India, the programme has helped to support a huge national drive for Physical Education and Sport in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in 2010. This includes the launch of a new, national PE programme to reach millions of children in 250,000 rural schools, as well as new targets being set for more PE and sport in schools and the training of thousands of new teachers in PE.

* Over 81% of the districts in the semi-arid North-East region of Brazil, having now signed up to a ?Sports and Citizenship Challenge', in order to increase awareness and improve access to sport and play for children and young people. At present almost all districts have completed sports events and approximately 7,200 sports leaders have been trained to work in schools and communities, providing sporting opportunities for their peers.

* 31 current school links between International Inspiration countries and schools in the UK, providing opportunities for children in both countries to learn from each other's cultures and experiences.

* Supporting the Zambia Volleyball Association in organising the largest national schools volleyball tournament and training camp to encourage more girls as well as boys to take part in the sport and provide further training to encourage its growth. Over 170 girls took part in the tournament and a further 20 girls were trained to teach the sport to others back in rural and remote locations in Zambia.

New policies for sport

Partner countries have signed up to the vision and have launched new policies for sport. The Programme has supported the Azerbaijan Government in the development of a new National Sport Development Strategy in Azerbaijan. This will see a new drive towards community sport-for-all which has the potential to reach all communities in Azerbaijan.

In addition, through International Inspiration, a group of 16-18 year olds from the poorest suburbs in Recife in North East Brazil have received training to become young leaders, greatly improving confidence, as well as encouraging them to realize their ambition and full potential. As a result all are now volunteering in schools and local communities, using sport activities and organizing festivals to work with younger children.

Ivone Gomes de Lima, mother to Illo who is benefiting from this particular initiative, said:

?Since starting on the International Inspiration programme, I love to see him practise sport. He has become better at his studies and the whole family support him. Previously he was very lazy at school and not interested in his studies.?

Partner Organisations

International Inspiration has brought together a wide range of bodies, each contributing their expertise and/or financial support. Delivery is led by UK Sport, in partnership with the British Council and UNICEF UK, and aims to reach 12 million children in 20 countries by the time of the London Games. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Premier League are key partners providing funding and other support, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and the British Olympic Foundation are also central to the programme, with International Inspiration forming a core strand of London 2012's international education programme. The delivery of International Inspiration in each country is also supported with specific expertise from the Youth Sport Trust and by organisations such as Right to Play and the local National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees.

Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, Tessa Jowell, said on the next stage of International Inspiration's development:

?I've seen for myself in Brazil the very real benefits that International Inspiration brings to young people around the world. The teenagers who've been on the leadership training now talk about becoming doctors and lawyers, young people of all ages love taking part in new sports, and by being involved in the programme they're kept away from the dangers of violence, drugs and prostitution on the streets.

So I'm delighted that DFID and the British Council are putting more funding into the programme and that we can bring its benefits to the children in a further five developing and emerging countries. Using sport as a catalyst for change for young people around the world is a cornerstone of our Olympic legacy, and I'm thrilled that the IOC has chosen to recognise International Inspiration as an official Olympic programme - the first programme of this kind ever to gain official IOC backing.?

* UNICEF will shortly be launching a new 'sport for development' website which will include information on International Inspiration at www.unicef.org.uk/sport

 

Source: UNICEF Main Website.
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