Sport for development

Country Examples

RWANDA: Sports for Peace and Reconcilliation

The main objective of the UNICEF sports mainstreaming programme in Rwanda is to contribute to the integration of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs) in their communities, through their participation in sport activities with other children.  The focus is on ensuring that OVCs participate in these activities and that, through this participation, they become more accepted by the community.  The project aims to advance and improve the physical and the psycho-social development of the children involved.

The objectives are also to expand and support existing initiatives in Rwanda that include sports activities as part of education, child friendly schools and child rights programmes.  In particular, the project aims to support an existing UNICEF programme with the Rwanda Ministry of Education, furthering the mainstreaming of sport as a discipline in school curricula, with the unique particularity that in Rwanda school sport activities are termed "sport and reconciliation."  The focus of this programme is on utilizing sport as a tool to promote unity among pupils thus helping Rwanda to recover from the genocide.

The project started in January 2005, in two provinces of Gisenyi and Kigali Ngali with initial generous funding of 200,000 USD from SWATCH in cooperation with the International Olympic Commitee. Programme implementation is led by UNICEF Rwanda with the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sports in Rwanda providing the overall coordination of partners which include the Rwandese National Olympic Committee and the NGO Right to Play.


Football Championship Among School Children

Since 2001, UNICEF together with different partners has been organising Children and Youth Football Championship on the Presidentís Cup in Georgia. The championship on the Presidentís Cup is an annual event which has been going on annually for five years now. The championship has brought forth new talents in sport and has helped to mobilize thousands of children and young people in healthy sports activities. The tournment aims at significantly contributing to the promotion of healthy lifestyles and prevention of harmful habits in particular alcohol and drug abuse among children and youth in Georgia.

The organisers of the tournment are the State Chancellery of Georgia, UNICEF,  the local NGO Loseb Noneshvili,  International Childerís Fund and the Football Federation of Georgia. It is estimated that annually more than 45,000 children from 2000 schools in Georgia participate in this tournament.

In future UNICEF plans to highlight the educational part of the initiative which includes training sessions for young people on HIV/AIDS and child rights. Moreover  with funding from the Dutch National Committee UNICEF plans to extend the tournament to promote peace building among communities living in the conflict zones of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, including Chechen refugees living in the Pankisi valley of Georgia. View power point slides

COLUMBIA: The Football for Peace project is a partnership between the High Commissioner for Peace, the Young Colombia Programme, government ministries and the private sector. Public spaces are being rehabilitated and turned into football fields to promote tolerance and conflict resolution. The project helps communities understand that all children, including current and child soldiers, have rights and that no child should be marginalized. To promote gender equity, girls and boys play on the same team. Goals are not counted unless a girl has touched the ball. This year, around 20,000 children and adolescents aged 11 to 22, and 5,000 coaches in 50 municipalities are participating in the Football for Peace project. It is estimated that the peace messages are reaching more than 50,000 people in Colombia.


TURKEY: The FACT (Family and Child Training) programme encourages families with children under six years to participate together in games and play activities for younger children. The extended family learns about the importance of early childhood education, nutrition, breastfeeding and play. With a better understanding of their childrenís physical, psychological and cognitive development needs, families are encouraged to develop a stimulating, interactive learning environment for their children at home.


ZIMBABWE:  The Youth Education through Sport  (YES) programme, led by young people, requires participants to commit to staying in school and to volunteering in their communities. The aim of this nationwide programme, supported by the Zimbabwe Sports and Recreation Commission, national and international partners, is to bring together young people through sport to provide education on HIV/AIDS and related issues such as teaching young people life skills, and equipping them to become peer educators and contribute to their communities as positive role models. Since 2000, the programme has reached 25,000 young people, half of them female.



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