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‘Lives can be changed through sport’ says participant at UN Youth Camp in Germany, as intensive 1st week concludes

22 June 2012
YLC participants attend session by the NGO Boxgirls International. © UNOSDP

This past Monday, the 2nd edition of the ‘UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp’ kicked off in Hennef, Germany, with 25 young participants hailing from underprivileged communities in 10 African countries and the Palestinian Territories. The 11-day training course focuses on empowering them to deliver sport-based social programmes and invoke greater change in their communities. Today, the participants are visiting the Bayer 04 Leverkusen Football Club stadium for a 3-hour coaching clinic.

“The UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp has so far beaten all the initial expectations I had. It has given me the opportunity to realize even more acutely and concretely how lives can be changed through sport, how victims of poverty and discrimination, or persons living with a physical or mental disability can be included and empowered through sport,” says 23-year old Shama Buba. Originally from Nigeria, Shama has been working this past year in Namibia for the organization Special Olympics, coordinating sports and physical activities for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Before heading to the BayArena stadium in Leverkusen, the participants had the chance to visit the German Sport University Cologne for a lecture on the key aspects of monitoring and evaluating sports projects on the ground, followed by an exchange of experiences with staff and students.

“All of the participants work in Sport for Development and Peace projects and have already made significant contributions in their communities. But the extra expertise and experience that they gain from this camp gives them the chance to grow as role models and as change makers in their communities,” says UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, initiator of the project.

The camp consists of 11 days of experiential learning, for which a unique curriculum was specifically developed, addressing themes such as health, gender, disability, education and peace. Through seminars, play-based activities, group discussions and an adapted practice of football, judo, boxing, basketball, yoga and other disciplines, the participants learn to maximize the transformative power of sport and play in order to invoke social change.

The initiative is led by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), in close collaboration with the international NGO Right To Play.

This edition is hosted by the Hennef Sports School and has been financially supported amongst others by the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as by the Jacobs Foundation.

It brings together an extensive network of partners, including the International Paralympic Committee, the International Judo, Basketball and Table Tennis Federations, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and their partner Scort Foundation, the German development agency GIZ and the NGO Boxgirls International.

It is the intention that up to four similar camps take place every year.

– Ends –

More information and updates here.

Media Contact:
Antoine Tardy, Advocacy and Communications Officer  
United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace      
media.unosdp(at)unog.ch / +41 (0)22 917 47 12

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