"International Inspiration has used the power of sport to change the lives and futures of 12 million children worldwide."
With a year to go to the start of the London 2012 Games, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today announced that its international legacy programme, International Inspiration, is delivering on its international legacy promise a year earlier than planned and has already achieved its vision of reaching 12 million children and young people around the world.
International Inspiration is London 2012’s official international sports legacy programme and is bringing to life the promise made by the London 2012 bid team where they pledged to reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport.
Its original vision was to reach 12 million children in 20 countries by the start of the London 2012 Games. The programme is now reaching 12 million children and young people in 17 countries around the world, particularly in developing countries. It is delivered as a partnership between UK Sport, UNICEF and the British Council.
The programme aims to use the power of physical education, sport and play to enrich the lives of millions of children and young people of all abilities. The programme works with local communities, teachers, coaches and governments to improve children’s lives and give them the chance to take part in sport and play. Through sport, young people learn how to become leaders, be positive role models and inspire their peers.
International Inspiration is helping change children and young people’s lives in many different ways. In Bangladesh, where thousands of children drown each year, International Inspiration is working with the Bangladesh Swimming Federation to teach swimming survival techniques to over 80,000 non-swimmers. Working in seven flood-prone priority districts, International Inspiration has so far trained 784 teenage swimming instructors to teach children how to swim and to raise awareness about the importance of survival swimming.
In Trinidad & Tobago, International Inspiration aims to use sport to tackle the issue of violence, addressing both the victims and the perpetrators. By providing alternative activities for those involved in anti-social behaviour, and developing leadership, respect, confidence, teamwork and fair play, International Inspiration uses sport to help young people develop the life skills they need, and to help reduce levels of crime in their communities.
In Zambia, International Inspiration is helping to address and educate young people about the issue of HIV and AIDS. Since the programme started in Zambia, 3,000,000 children and young people have been reached through radio programmes promoting the importance of sport and play for healthy lifestyles.
School partnerships are also an integral part of International Inspiration, providing an opportunity for teachers, children and young people to develop and share innovative approaches to PE, sport and play in the classroom and their local community - as well as learning about and understanding each other’s cultures, experiences and international development issues. Over 200 schools in the UK currently linked to a school overseas through International Inspiration.
Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: ‘When London won the right to stage the 2012 Games, we did it on the back of several serious commitments. One of them was to use the power of the Games to inspire change – we promised to engage and inspire the youth of the world through sport and to integrate long-term sustainable legacy from the outset. International Inspiration is that vision. We promised that the lives of 12 million young people would change through the power of sport, so a year out from the Games I am delighted to announce that we have fulfilled that pledge. I would like to thank the delivery partners of International Inspiration who have helped us achieve our vision.’
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics said: ‘International Inspiration has used the power of sport to change the lives and futures of 12 million children worldwide. It is a fantastic achievement and one of the greatest, and most long-term, legacies of London 2012.’
Noor, an 18 year old involved with the International Inspiration programme in Bangladesh and who saved a child from drowning by performing CPR which she learnt during her training said: “Before being involved with International Inspiration, I wasn’t very confident and I didn’t feel like I would have any opportunities in life. Now, thanks to International Inspiration, I am using the skills and experience I have learnt to further my education and I am much more respected in my community, which is something very important for women in Bangladesh.”
The London 2012 programme will continue in some countries until 2014. In each country the focus is on activities which will deliver long-term systematic change, such as the training of coaches and changes in government policy, rather than one-off short-term impacts. This helps ensure that the impacts of the programme and benefits to children and young people will continue long after the London 2012 Games have finished.