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Civil society partnerships

Gold Medal for “Champions for Children’s Rights”

© UNICEF/2004

ATHENS/NEW YORK, 13 August 2004 – UNICEF, in cooperation with the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) is providing an opportunity for 450 young athletes to become ‘Champions for Children’s Rights’, during the 16-day Olympic Youth Camps being held at the Olympic Games.

Every country participating in the Olympics is represented also at the Youth Camps. Each National Olympic Committee has selected two young athletes (aged 16-18, one female, one male) to participate. They are joined by 50 additional young people from Greece (the host country) and by numerous volunteers.

The young athletes will enjoy cultural activities, visit historic sites and watch Olympic events.  They will also participate in several UNICEF-led workshops. The workshop series is designed to encourage and equip the participants to become advocates for using sports as a tool for child and youth development. The training will strengthen leadership capacities, enhance communication skills and orient the participants on issues affecting children in their country.

The young athletes will be encouraged to continue their work as ‘Champions for Children’, by advocating and working on behalf of children, even as they continue their progress in their chosen sport.
UNICEF is making increased use of the power and potential of sport, recreation and play in its country programmes around the world.  Sports has the power to improve the lives of individuals and communities.  A recent UNICEF publication, Sport, Recreation and Play, describes how sport can be used as a tool for development.



Sports for Development

“In countries around the world, sport, recreation and play are improving health – both mind and body. They are teaching important life lessons about respect, leadership and cooperation.  They are promoting equality for all and bridging divides between people.”
-- UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy

UNICEF publication: Sport, Recreation and Play [PDF]

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