"The UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp ... has given me the opportunity to realize even more acutely and concretely how lives can be changed through sport, how victims of poverty and discrimination, or persons living with a physical or mental disability can be included and empowered through sport."
The second edition of the ‘UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp’ kicked off in Hennef, Germany, on Monday (18 June) with 25 young participants hailing from underprivileged communities in 10 African countries and the Palestinian Territories. Three of the participants have an impairment and were selected by the International Paralympic Committee to attend the camp.
The 11-day training course focuses on empowering them to deliver sport-based social programmes and invoke greater change in their communities.
“The UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp has so far beaten all the initial expectations I had. It has given me the opportunity to realize even more acutely and concretely how lives can be changed through sport, how victims of poverty and discrimination, or persons living with a physical or mental disability can be included and empowered through sport,” says 23-year old Shama Buba. Originally from Nigeria, Shama has been working this past year in Namibia for the organization Special Olympics, coordinating sports and physical activities for persons with intellectual disabilities.
During the camp participants were introduced to Paralympic Sport and learnt about key aspects of the Parlaympic Movement, including its values and history.
“All of the participants work in Sport for Development and Peace projects and have already made significant contributions in their communities. But the extra expertise and experience that they gain from this camp gives them the chance to grow as role models and as change makers in their communities,” says UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, initiator of the project.
The camp consists of 11 days of experiential learning, for which a unique curriculum was specifically developed, addressing themes such as health, gender, impairment, education and peace. Through seminars, play-based activities, group discussions and an adapted practice of football, judo, boxing, basketball, yoga and other disciplines, the participants learn to maximize the transformative power of sport and play in order to invoke social change.
The initiative is led by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), in close collaboration with the international NGO Right To Play.
It brings together an extensive network of partners, including the International Paralympic Committee, the International Judo, Basketball and Table Tennis Federations, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and their partner Scort Foundation, the German development agency GIZ and the NGO Boxgirls International.
This edition is hosted by the Hennef Sports School and has been financially supported amongst others by the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as by the Jacobs Foundation.
It is the intention that up to four similar camps take place every year.