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The UNOSDP: Reflecting on past collaboration

Copyrights: ITTF

The UNOSDP: Reflecting on past collaboration

Leandro Olvech, development director at the International Table Tennis Federation, looks back on nine years of partnerships with the recently closed United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace.

Dear Reader,

Shortly before the beginning of a new era, it is appropriate to pause for a moment and reflect on the past. With a bit of nostalgia, I think back to nine years of fruitful collaboration between the International Table Tennis Federation and the UNOSDP. In ITTF we make the difference between the development of table tennis on the one hand and table tennis for development on the other. In the latter case, the UNOSPD and especially Wilfried Lemke opened lots of doors for projects on a grassroots level. In our shared history we can look back on:

  • The ITTF – UNHCR project for refugees in Yemen
  • Proactive participation in most of the realised Youth Leadership Camps and a posterior follow up through the ITTF-UNOSDP Dream Building programme that provides material and educational assistance to selected youth leader projects after each camp
  • The project for people with a disability in Nepal, launched only in 2016.

As pictures say more than a thousand words, I kindly invite you to watch the following videos about these projects:

During the past years, we especially appreciated the personal contact with UNOSDP. Even for an international federation, it is hard to find the way through large bureaucratic apparatus like the United Nations. The UNOSPD was a most respectful partner; we always found an open ear and constructive guidance. This is how we, and surely many other organisations, were able to bring the noble “Sustainable Development Goals” down to a grassroots level and make a change in people’s lives.

The first reaction to the closure was consternation paired with the fear that the loss of this office may push organisations back into the running wheels of the bureaucracy. One door was closed and now we are waiting anxiously for what will be behind the new door, which will inevitably open. We are sure that it will bring its own and new possibilities to keep working together. In the name of the ITTF, I offer our full support; we are disposed to collaborate in whatever may be helpful and looking forward to knowing our new contacts and work together. We place great hopes on a continued and uncomplicated contact between the decision makers within the UN and local stakeholders.

Let’s keep using sport as a tool for a positive social change; let’s do this not only for but also together with people on the spot!

Leandro Olvech
ITTF – Development Director


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Monday, June 19, 2017 - 14:17