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Mixed-ability sport project in Ghana

Copyrights: Sport 4 Development e.V.

Mixed-ability sport project in Ghana

Cologne-based NGO Sport 4 Development e.V. (S4D) started a pilot project, together with a local or-ganization ANOPA at the end of 2019, involving a mixed ability sport setting with 50 young people, with and without disabilities, from two schools in Cape Coast, Ghana.

Disabilities are often seen as a religious punishment for committed sins, a consequence of witchcraft or disregard to the traditions of the Juju-belief in Ghana. Accordingly, rather than attempting to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities, the cause of the disability is often sought.

Sport works a lot through non-verbal communication. Therefore, blind and deaf children were able to interact in recreational activities and sport together. The project’s aim was that all stigmatized and discriminated children with disability should be included in sports activities. The impact goal was defined as an increased level of inclusion. This can be achieved through sport – and it actually was! Sport dispelled prejudices and stereotypes. Therefore, a positive change in the internal and external perception of disability was achieved.

The main tool of the S4D’s partner organization ANOPA is swimming. With the help of two local ANOPA trainers, who were trained as assistant coaches by the State Swimming Association of North Rhine-Westphalia, the project coordinator Ernest Appiah, as well as a teacher from the Cape Coast School for the Blind and Deaf implemented the mixed-ability sport project. Additionally, volunteers from the German Sports University in Cologne supported the inclusive project.

S4D also aims to support ANOPA regarding the infrastructural challenges. The swimming lessons had to take place in hotel pools. Instead of paying a high pool rent, the Cologne-based NGO would like to build a swimming pool together with ANOPA with a cost of 20,000 Euros to increase sustainable usage and long-term impact. In that regard, they could cooperate with the University of Cape Coast. For this project, the Bonn company Engagement Global contributed 7,000 Euros as funds from the state of North-Rhine-Westphalia.

Though the project mainly uses swimming as a tool, we have also engaged in using basketball. Prince is a non-disabled participant in the program, who says: “I cant't imagine how deaf children could play basketball at all. Many of the children are even better than me and we have become good friends.”

Tobias Antoni is the founder of the NGO Sport 4 Development e.V. With several years of practical experience in sport for development on a local level in his hometown Cologne and in Ghana, he also holds an MA degree in International Sport Development and Politics from the German Sport University.

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Monday, November 23, 2020 - 17:57