Sport's potential value in peace and development highlighted
Aid NGO to lead inaugural international day highlighting the role sport can play in development and peace building.
This Sunday an Australian non government organisation will lead celebrations in Sydney to mark the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
The NGO, Sport Matters, is at the forefront of using sport to promote development.
The day will include a number of sporting legends such as former National Rugby League player and Fiji captain, Petero Civoniceva.
Sports Matters' chief executive, Jackie Lauff, told Don Wiseman about the significance of holding such an event.
JACKIE LAUFF : We know that sports can make a huge difference particularly in developing communities, and at 'Sport Matters' we're really excited to have the announcement of this new day on April 6th, to really showcase the impact sport can have at the community level in areas like health and education, and economic development.
DON WISEMAN : In what way? Can you just elaborate on the sort of impact it can have?
JL: Sure, the crux of the matter is that with sport, it's a uniting force and it's something that's culturally relevant, they know what it is and they'll come out of their homes and band together with sport as that tool, and the carrot actually, that draws people together. And once they come together, targeted sport for development programmes, then add in a meaningful way things like health education, water, sanitation and hygiene. Messages about, for example, the risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases. Which are predominantly a lack of physical activity and associated risks with diet and alcohol use and smoking.
DW : It seems like such a good idea. It's odd in a way, isn't it, that NGOs haven't got onto this more often and earlier.
JL: Well I think that there are quite a few organisations around the world that are using sport in a meaningful way for development and peace outcomes. We're quite excited to have this day as a showcase, which means we can really stand up and shout loud and clear that sport can make an impact on specific development and peace outcomes and we're linking with organisations around the world who are getting behind this day. That includes the IOC and their members and different United Nations agencies as well, including Unicef, Unesco, UNDP and of course we've got the United Nations office of sport for development and peace.
DW: And international day, where's the idea come from?
JL: It actually came out of a joint UN and IOC conference that was hosted in early June last year and then the day was formalised at a United Nations general assembly on August 23 last year. And it's quite exciting to have this day on April 6, it's also a recognition, and a celebration really, of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 which gives us a nice link to the Olympic movement, and the opportunity to showcase the Olympic values inside the messages around the international day of sports for development and peace. So we're not talking about Olympic athletes in terms of high performance and faster, higher, stronger, but more about the impact that sports can have. And the essence of the message is that it's in the positive values of sport where the change can occur.
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