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26 January 2012
Last week marked the end of a 10 day Youth Leadership Camp organised by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) in collaboration with Right To Play.
Hosted at the renowned Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar, five Right To Play participants from Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and the Palestinian Territories were among 29 young people taking part in the camp. Selected because of their outstanding contribution to the field of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) in their respective communities, the camp provided an experiential learning setting for youth to address the role of sport in tackling issues related to health, gender and gender based violence, disability, education and peace.
With two thirds of youth participants at the camp female, particular emphasis was placed on gender and the role of sport in addressing gender. Talking of their experience of sport-based programmes, participants expressed their belief in the power of SDP initiatives to promote girls participation and gender equality.
"Our field of Sport for Development and Peace needs the energy and innovation that is found in younger generations. We are proud to support the UNOSDP and youth leaders with this essential initiative," said Johann Olav Koss, CEO and President of Right To Play.
UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfred Lemke expressed his enthusiasm in regards to the project and the many organisations involved:
"The United Nations has long understood the unique power of sport for change; but for change to happen, strong leadership is needed. The UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp provides concrete and practical leadership skills from some of the best leaders and experts in the field, in a truly collaborative spirit. This ensures that the lessons learned will guide these young leaders in their future endeavours."
In addition to creating work plans to improve their existing programmes and therefore ensuring a legacy of the Youth Leadership Camp, youth participants also worked together to develop Sport for Development and Peace Coaching Standards. Designed to be used by leaders, partners and NGOs to improve the planning and implementation of SDP activities, these standards outline what must be done before, during and after any SDP programme for children and youth. Drawing on their own experiences as coaches in their respective communities, youth participants identified the promotion of physical safety, emotional well-being and learning and development as the three crucial components of sport for development and peace programmes.
"Creating opportunities for young people to actively participate in decision making is a crucial part of successful SDP programmes and development initiatives more generally. Youth participation is consequently central to our work at Right To Play and contributes to the sustainability of our programmes. We are delighted to have partnered with UNOSDP and look forward to seeing the action plans developed by youth put into motion when they return home," said Johann Olav Koss, CEO and President of Right To Play.