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Global vision for London 2012 being realised through 'International Inspiration'

Global vision for London 2012 being realised through 'International Inspiration'

Unique Legacy programme receives formal support from IOC; Five more countries to benefit from funding from DFID and British Council; Ambition to reach 12 million children in 20 countries by 2012.

The London 2012 bid team’s promise in Singapore to engage and inspire the youth of the world through sport took a huge step forward today with the announcement of five more countries and a further £16 million of funding for the ‘International Inspiration’ programme.

Since its launch in January 2008 by the Prime Minister, the programme has been successfully piloted in five countries: Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Palau and Zambia. As a result the programme is now being extended, and has received the formal backing of the International Olympic Committee. This is the first time a host country has undertaken an international legacy programme of this kind, and to have International Inspiration formally recognised as a London 2012 initiative is a significant milestone.

Five new countries will be part of the second stage: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Mozambique and Trinidad and Tobago. The new funding is from the Department for International Development (DFID) with an additional £5.4m, and the British Council, which has made a pledge to match fund future income up to a total of £10.2 million. This backs up the £9million already invested by DFID, the British Council, UNICEF, DCMS and the Premier League.

International Inspiration is a unique partnership dedicated to creating lasting opportunities for children and young people of all abilities, in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play.

The project works closely with Education and Sport Ministries, National Olympic and Paralympic Committees to deliver high quality sport and PE in both schools and communities. This ensures that the vision for the programme is taken on by governments and local communities, thus leaving a lasting legacy in the countries and communities embraced by the project. The programme has in its first year already achieved a significant amount of positive action and change, including:

  • In India, the programme has helped to support a huge national drive for Physical Education and Sport in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in 2010. This includes the launch of a new, national PE programme to reach millions of children in 250,000 rural schools, as well as new targets being set for more PE and sport in schools and the training of thousands of new teachers in PE.
  • Over 81% of the districts in the semi-arid North-East region of Brazil, having now signed up to a ‘Sports and Citizenship Challenge’, in order to increase awareness and improve access to sport and play for children and young people. At present almost all districts have completed sports events and approximately 7,200 sports leaders have been trained to work in schools and communities, providing sporting opportunities for their peers.
  • 31 current school links between International Inspiration countries and schools in the UK, providing opportunities for children in both countries to learn from each other’s cultures and experiences.
  • Supporting the Zambia Volleyball Association in organising the largest national schools volleyball tournament and training camp to encourage more girls as well as boys to take part in the sport and provide further training to encourage its growth. Over 170 girls took part in the tournament and a further 20 girls were trained to teach the sport to others back in rural and remote locations in Zambia.
  • Partner countries have signed up to the vision and have launched new policies for sport. The Programme has supported the Azerbaijan Government in the development of a new National Sport Development Strategy in Azerbaijan. This will see a new drive towards community sport-for-all which has the potential to reach all communities in Azerbaijan.

In addition, through International Inspiration, a group of 16-18 year olds from the poorest suburbs in Recife in North East Brazil have received training to become young leaders, greatly improving confidence, as well as encouraging them to realize their ambition and full potential. As a result all are now volunteering in schools and local communities, using sport activities and organizing festivals to work with younger children.

Ivone Gomes de Lima, mother to Illo who is benefiting from this particular initiative, said: “Since starting on the International Inspiration programme, I love to see him practise sport. He has become better at his studies and the whole family support him. Previously he was very lazy at school and not interested in his studies.”

International Inspiration has brought together a wide range of bodies, each contributing their expertise and/or financial support. Delivery is led by UK Sport, in partnership with the British Council and UNICEF UK, and aims to reach 12 million children in 20 countries by the time of the London Games. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Premier League are key partners providing funding and other support, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and the British Olympic Foundation are also central to the programme, with International Inspiration forming a core strand of London 2012’s international education programme. The delivery of International Inspiration in each country is also supported with specific expertise from the Youth Sport Trust and by organisations such as Right to Play and the local National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees.

Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, Tessa Jowell, said on the next stage of International Inspiration’s development:

“I’ve seen for myself in Brazil the very real benefits that International Inspiration brings to young people around the world. The teenagers who’ve been on the leadership training now talk about becoming doctors and lawyers, young people of all ages love taking part in new sports, and by being involved in the programme they’re kept away from the dangers of violence, drugs and prostitution on the streets.

"So I’m delighted that DFID and the British Council are putting more funding into the programme and that we can bring its benefits to the children in a further five developing and emerging countries. Using sport as a catalyst for change for young people around the world is a cornerstone of our Olympic legacy, and I’m thrilled that the IOC has chosen to recognise International Inspiration as an official Olympic programme - the first programme of this kind ever to gain official IOC backing.”

Denis Oswald, Chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the London 2012 Games, said:

“When Seb Coe and London 2012 made their final presentation to the IOC Session in Singapore, one of their commitments was that they would inspire the youth of the world. This project is one way that London 2012 is living up to that promise and the IOC is delighted to be able to support them in this very worthwhile endeavour.”

Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London 2012, added his pleasure at International Inspiration gaining formal IOC support:

“Our vision is to use the power of the Games to inspire change – and changing lives is the driving force behind our plans. We took a very clear promise to Singapore – to encourage the youth of the world to choose sport – and today’s announcement is another key step towards delivering that promise. Sport can be a great force for good, and the International Inspiration programme will play a real role in improving the lives of young people around the world through sport.”

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, added:

“International Inspiration has shown itself to be a valuable means to help governments, parents and schools in some of the world's poorest countries to improve the health and education of millions of children in developing countries. The results so far have been impressive and DFID is dedicated to supporting the programme's roll-out in five new countries. Using team games and sports promotes a sense of social inclusion, improves health and provides the children with valuable life skills such as leadership and self confidence.”

Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, highlighted the positive impact on the ground of the programme: “The UK already has many years of experience in designing and implementing sustainable and effective sport development partnership programmes around the world. What International Inspiration does is take that activity and commitment to a whole new level. I am delighted by the new stage it has reached and proud of UK Sport’s role in leading the programme’s delivery.”

Lord Kinnock, Chairman of the British Council, explained why his organisation had chosen to make such a significant investment in International Inspiration:

“International Inspiration will make a positive lasting contribution to the legacy of the London 2012 games and the British Council is very proud to be part of this project. By harnessing the worldwide power of sport, we are confident that International Inspiration will help 12 million young people to develop new skills, knowledge and experience that will help them to take their place as highly effective members of the global community. Everyone benefits from that.”

Lord David Puttnam, Chairman of UNICEF UK, added: "Every day, millions of children in the world are missing out on an important part of their childhood - the chance to play. In some cases children have never played a game of sport in their lives because the social and economic circumstances they face are too challenging. As well as being a fundamental right of every child, UNICEF knows that sport and play has the power to transform lives by boosting a child's health and self-esteem; improving not only academic performance, but also a child's enjoyment of school; and helping to unite communities torn apart by conflict and adversity. International Inspiration is our chance to leave behind a lasting legacy for children and on behalf of UNICEF I am proud to be a part of this pioneering programme."

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, said: “The Premier League is passionate about building the skills and networks needed to deliver sustainable grassroots sport at home and overseas, in partnership with organisations such as British Council.

“International Inspiration matches the Premier League’s aim to encourage and engage communities around the world in sport and I am sure this new investment will change more lives for the better, making a lasting impact on developing countries across the globe.”

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - 23:00

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