The Olympic Movement unites in delivering the Youth Olympic Games legacy to the young people of Buenos Aires
With the beat of yesterday’s fiesta to kick-start the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games still resounding, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Argentina, Panam Sports, the Inter-American Development Bank, UN Women and the City of Buenos Aires today presented a project in which they are all joining forces to deliver a sustainable legacy of the Games for young local communities.
Hosting the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) has allowed many initiatives to be carried out bringing the Olympic values to the youth of Buenos Aires. Thanks to the YOG, over one million children in the city have benefited from sports initiations, and Olympic education programmes in schools and summer camps. The Games were also a decisive factor for Buenos Aires to accelerate its Ciudad Activa programme, making physical activity projects available to the citizens, improving sporting facilities and generally promoting healthy and active lifestyles. As a result, Buenos Aires is one of the first cities worldwide to be officially certified as a Global Active City.
Today, the IOC and its constituents and partners presented another major piece of the legacy of the YOG: a community centre with sports facilities for children to be built in Villa 31.
Villa 31, a slum located at the heart of Buenos Aires, is home to 40,000 people, of whom more than 30 per cent are of school age. The urbanisation of this neighbourhood is a key objective of the City Government of Buenos Aires. Several areas of the Villa are being rehabilitated, and houses are being built to offer better living conditions to the residents.
In this context, the City of Buenos Aires has offered land to the National Olympic Committee of Argentina to build a community centre, where the young people of the Villa can take part in educational and sporting programmes empowering them through sport.
Panam Sports, the association of American National Olympic Committees, will fund part of the construction of the centre through its Olympamerica programme.
UN Women and the Inter-American Development Bank found in this legacy project an excellent opportunity to implement their cooperation agreements with the IOC on projects for children and adolescents in underserved communities, and for girls’ empowerment through sport.
The IOC-funded UN Women programme “One Win Leads to Another” (OWLA) will be starting in Villa 15 as of now, and delivered at the community centre in Villa 31 until the end of 2020. Its objective is to use sport and life skills education to build leadership and empower adolescent girls. OWLA will be implemented through the education system with the support of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, and through other local institutions such as sports clubs and community networks active in the Villa 31. The primary beneficiaries will be adolescent girls aged 12-18 participating in the sports programme at selected schools, and girls participating in community sports clubs.
The Inter-American Development Bank in turn will offer its “A Ganar” programme, which uses sport to provide young people from disadvantaged communities with the skills needed to work in the technology sector. “A Ganar” sports programmes help young people to develop teamwork skills and enhance their employability, thereby boosting their self-esteem. Other benefits of the programme include promoting conflict-resolution, violence-prevention, health and wellness, and social inclusion skills. Starting in 2019 in Villa 31, the programme will focus on young women aged 16-24, to prepare them to take up knowledge economy jobs.
Under the leadership of the NOC of Argentina, and with the back-up of a fully united Olympic Movement, the centre will demonstrate true Olympism in action: a place where the children of Villa 31 will play sport and experience the Olympic spirit in peace, without fearing for their safety. They will learn how to become stronger through sport, and how to build confidence and self-esteem. They will acquire basic skills and leadership qualities that are so important for other areas of their lives. They will learn how sport can make the world a better place for their friends, their families, their neighbourhood and themselves.