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UNOSDP and partners wrap up successful pilot year for the Youth Leadership Camp initiative

18 October 2012
The fourth YLC promotion, proudly wearing the equipment donated by YLC partner 361 Degrees International. © OFSPO/Guy Perrenoud

Geneva (UNOSDP) – The third UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp concluded on Friday, 5 October, at the Swiss Federal Office of Sport (OFSPO) in Macolin, Switzerland. After 11 days of both theoretical and practical training, the 26 youth coming from 16 countries returned home with the hope of putting what they have learned into practice back in their home communities. All of the youth have expressed with great confidence the benefit that this experience will have on their work back home.

“When I go back to my community, I will use the knowledge and skills from this camp to better carry out the projects for youth and children in my community”, says Rachel Irakoze, one of the participants from Burundi who is volunteering for the International Judo Federation (IJF) in Burundi, using judo as a tool for development and peace in her community.

During the 11 days of training in Macolin, facilitators covered a multitude of thematic topics centered upon the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as other important topics such as the inclusion of persons with a disability and conflict resolution. Another theme of the camp was gender equality, which was demonstrated by the make-up of the participants themselves with 16 females out of the 26 participants.

The participants – coming from Benin, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, the Palestinian Territories, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe – had been selected by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) after a thorough selection process.

“I am so excited about learning new experiences and skills, sharing with other young people and getting to know about both their lives and their work. By sharing ideas on what we are doing for our community, we create opportunities for more learning and empowerment,” said a content Mohammed Mvumbagu from Tanzania. Mohammed was trained by Beckwith International Leadership Development (BILD) and was identified by UNOSDP’s partner UK Sport as an applicant.

Wilfried Lemke, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, whose UN office is leading the initiative, was equally pleased with the most recent edition in Macolin: “The youth who have been here in Macolin all have given a great effort and have gained a deep knowledge of how they can now return home to their communities and harness the power of sport to make a positive change. I am very eager to see how they progress in the coming years.”

Looking ahead, the focus now shifts to the Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar, where the fourth edition of the camps will take place from 14-24 January 2013. This will be the second camp held in the Aspire Dome as the inaugural Youth Leadership Camp was held there in January 2012.

Continued Mr. Lemke: “We now look ahead to Doha, where we will have another group of inspiring youth from disadvantaged communities across Africa and the Middle East coming together to demonstrate the power that young people, when given the chance, can have on the development and peace of their communities”.

Ernesto “Ernie” Rubustillo from the NGO Right to Play – the main implementing partner of this initiative – has been the lead instructor at both the second and third camps. Ernie sees a great potential in these camps to make a serious and lasting change in the lives of the youth leaders themselves and also the communities to which they serve: “We have an amazing programme that aligns perfectly well with Mr. Lemke’s vision, the MDGs and one that harmonizes the many grassroots efforts of the Sport for Development and Peace movement”, says Ernie.

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