Olympic Games as a driver for human development
Representatives of governments and organising committees are sharing their visions for social legacies of future Olympic Games during the 2nd International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development, which is taking place at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Geneva on 10 and 11 May 2011.
London 2012 reaching out to young people around the world
Hugh Robertson, the UK Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games, presented “International Inspiration” as a key legacy initiative in the run-up to next year’s Olympic Games in London. The programme works with local communities and governments to use the power of sport to enrich the lives of millions of children and young people of all abilities around the world, particularly in developing countries. Delivered through a partnership between UK Sport, UNICEF, the British Council and the London 2012 organisers (LOCOG), the programme aims to give these young people the skills they need to become positive role models and inspire their peers.
By the beginning of April 2011, International Inspiration had reached 10.8 million young people in 15 countries around the world. For example, 1.5 million young people and their families in Zambia are involved with awareness-raising projects that encourage children to discuss issues such as HIV and AIDS, while 80,000 children in Bangladesh have been taught survival swimming. The programme was developed as a result of the commitment made by the London bid team in Singapore in 2005 to “reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport”.
A new spirit of voluntarism in Russia
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, confirmed the importance of a Games legacy, stating: “We have several things we would not have without the Games”. He gave the examples of major improvements in a barrier-free environment all over Russia as well as the development of a new culture of voluntarism thanks to the Games. Although the Organising Committee started with only 25 volunteers, there has been a snowball effect since, and an estimated 25,000 volunteers will work during the Games in Sochi in more than 20 areas. “Our programme to train volunteers will not only deliver skilled and enthusiastic volunteers to welcome the world to Sochi in 2014, but will also leave the invaluable legacy of a volunteering culture in Russia which will benefit the nation for years into the future”, concluded Chernyshenko.
Activation across Brazil
The Olympic Games are also a driver for human development in Rio de Janeiro, host city of the Olympic Games in 2016. In his keynote address, the President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, Carlos Nuzman, described the many opportunities provided by bringing the Games to the continent of South America for the first time. He shared details of social sport projects targeted at Brazil’s population. The country’s largest sport and education outreach pogramme ever, which is taking place in the lead-up to 2016, reached one million people in 2010 alone. The initiative includes sport activation projects for children, the setting up of fitness centres for senior citizens, as well as school and university Games.