In Guinea, sport creates a level field for children with disabilities

Nearly one in every seven people in the world today – over a billion people – live with some kind of disability. Despite being such a big part of all our societies, persons with disabilities, especially children, are often relegated to their margins, blocked by the barriers of stigma and discrimination. A creative project by UNESCO Chair and Plan International aims to change that through the power of sport.

Girls and boys with disabilities often find themselves excluded from their societies, unable to access quality education or healthcare. A recent UN DESA report found that 44 per cent of countries today prevent students with disabilities from being taught in the same classroom as others. In some countries, over one in 10 persons with disabilities have been refused school enrolment.

The ambition of the Plan2Inclusivize project is to change this state of play by changing community perceptions and attitudes toward disability through sport. Sport gives an opportunity for persons with and without disabilities to interact in a positive context, forcing them to reshape assumptions about what persons with disabilities can and cannot do.

Plan to is a training methodology that facilitates disability inclusion and improved education though inclusive sport and play. Inclusivize is a verb created by the UNESCO Chair to combine all actions required to actively promote inclusion.

“It is about developing sport, fitness, recreational programmes around the world to inclusivize sport,” said Ann O’Connor, international development and research expert at UNESCO Chair. “That means, to get the people with and without disabilities playing sport, having fun and getting active.”

Plan2Inclusivize empowers community volunteers and educators to practice inclusion of children with disabilities in sports and physical activities. The project aims to create a broader understanding of inclusion in schools and beyond, to ensure effective and equal participation in society for all.

The participants of the training learn about disability, inclusion, quality physical education, sport, human rights, international and national policies. They also participate in practical workshops to adopt teaching methods that include children with disabilities in physical education classes and in leisure time.

The project has directly helped 1,020 children with disabilities, and indirectly impacted 3,000 boys and girls. In 2017, it was successfully piloted in Guinea and mainstreamed into an existing education programme from 2018. Plan International was also involved in the development of the Guinean Inclusive Education Strategy introduced in 2019.

Plan2Inclusivize is one of almost 600 projects listed in a database of good practices for the SDGs created by UN DESA in the hope that it can be replicated elsewhere.

What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that illustrate SDG implementation? What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up? What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them? Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress? To help answer these and other questions, UN DESA gathered more than 600 good SDG practices in a searchable online database. Be inspired by SDG solutions that work:

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