Half of Africa’s 1.2 billion population is under the age of 25. For this young generation to be a driver of sustainable development, it needs peace, access to education and prospects. Sport has proven to be an effective means to promote education, peace, violence prevention, gender equality, and health. Young people engaging in sport acquire important life skills like communication, collaboration, and leadership. These skills increase their confidence, and better qualify them for the labor market. The partnership between Special Olympics Africa Region and GIZ S4DA will focus on developing the following areas:
- Provision of technical expertise in the development of policies, curricula and coaching materials with regards to sport for development, safeguarding in sport, mental health and inclusion.
- Capacity building of technical sports personnel and administrators in sports for development (S4D), safeguarding in sport, mental health and inclusion.
- Enhance close cooperation with other local and international organizations, including governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, federations, civil-society organizations, private sector actors advocating for S4D, Unified Sports and disability inclusion in sports.
- Exchange of best practices to facilitate networking and partnerships.
Special Olympics Senegal athlete Mouhamadou Alcaly Diouf shared his thoughts on the occasion of the virtual signing of the partnership: “I am pleased to join this opportunity today. People with intellectual disabilities have always been excluded, in Africa more than in other parts of the world. COVID-19 has increased these challenges. This partnership will help remove some of the barriers we face. Africa is known for its Ubuntu spirit. I believe that by inclusion, we will have more impact. Special Olympics made me who I am today. If other partners like GIZ join us then our hope for an inclusive world is kept alive. Thank you!
Charles Nyambe, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Africa Region, said “In the Africa Region, the Special Olympics work revolves around the cultivation of youth leadership, because each youth advocate and leader is a step towards the Inclusion Revolution. This partnership with SD4A will only strengthen and enhance our capacity to stimulate and cultivate sports engagement in Africa.” The collaboration between the Special Olympics and SD4A will allow the Special Olympics Unified Schools programming on its mission to change attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities, as well as preparing today’s youth for a diverse and dynamic global landscape.
Thomas Levin, of GIZ added; “The joining of forces for the inclusion revolution is essential. We can only truly succeed once everyone has an ‘inclusive mindset’ in their everyday life! This is what we will be working towards and I for one cannot wait.”
The agreement will see activities deployed in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia and Sénégal where projects will be rolled out at a grassroots level, as well as locally, regionally and nationally. All with the intent of boosting engagement, participation in sporting activities in all its forms as well as through the creation of safe and secure sporting facilities and venues that will safeguard all children engaged in sport at whatever level.
Please watch the thank you video from Special Olympics Senegal athlete Mouhamadou Alcaly Diouf.