Sport for Social Cohesion
The15th IOC World Conference on Sport for All, currently taking place in Lima, Peru, is focusing on delivering hands-on practical experience in the field of Sport for All. On offer on day 2 of the Conference were site visits to initiatives around the Peruvian capital that serve as tools for societal inclusion.
“Today there is no doubt that sport plays a fundamental role in the development of social cohesion,” said IOC Sport for All Commission chairman Sam Ramsamy. “These amazing initiatives around the city of Lima should be used as a model for activities in our own countries.”
Delegates at the Conference could choose from one of four programmes.
The Heart of the Community
The Complejo Deportivo Villa Maria del Triunfo is a large sports complex in a deprived area of the city, which is run by the Peruvian Sports Institute. The facility runs programmes for individuals of all ages and reaches approximately 17,000 people per year, who enjoy sports such as football, volleyball and swimming. It also serves as a central sporting hub for the surrounding schools.
“It is something completely different to read about a project or to actually go into the field and meet the people. Then you really feel the atmosphere and the passion of the whole project.” said Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, one of the many delegates who attended the site visit.
Values Through Football
The Academia Deportiva Cantolao - SOMOS RED del Deporte para América Latina programme, managed by Right To Play, seeks to develop values and promote life skills through sport among children and adolescents. The young players experience a threefold experience at each training session: a "circle" discussion on the day's "value", a series of football-focused games specifically rooted to this value, and a closing circle, where they are encouraged to "apply" that value when they leave the pitch and go home.
“It’s quite amazing how sport can influence a child’s future in terms of confidence molding,” said Cathryn Volkering Carlile, General Manager Community Services of the city of Richmond in Canada. “Put a ball in front of a kid and see what it can do.”
For All Ages
Adulto Mayor focuses on the elderly population in Lima and uses the beautiful public parks in the district of Miraflores in Lima. This programme demonstrates how communal programming can occur when there is strong government support and access to safe spaces. The programme features activities like dance classes and walking tours.
Benefitting the Local Population
The regional Government of Callao leads the Villa Deportiva in Callao, a pristine community hub which is used by more than 40,000 people free of charge. Situated in a community that faces many challenges, from crime to drugs to poverty, this space has helped to improve the conditions in Callao by providing high-level sporting sessions as well as employment opportunities for the local population.
The site visits were aimed at exposing delegates to projects outside of their home countries to encourage take-home learning.
“I think these international experiences are important and it was new and refreshing for me to see how Peru implements sport for all actions in real life,” said Yaeseul Kim, of the Korean Olympic Committee. “New ideas and perspectives for Sport for All actions can be learned from other countries.”