The difficulties of hosting virtual events — even dealing with spotty Internet connections – were rather encouraging for Organisational Capacity Programme (OCP) Mentor Laurence Roy.
Attending an online OCP workshop in March for Haiti and West African National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), Roy was moved by the participants’ determination to still connect and learn.
“There is one main point that I am taking away: it is the incredible enthusiasm and motivation the NPC Delegates displayed during the OCP workshop,” said Roy, who was one of five Mentors at the workshop. “In fact, I was amazed to see all the time and hard work they are willing to put in to contribute to the development of their NPC and Para sport in general despite the challenges.”
The workshop was part of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) NPC Development Programme aimed to help smaller NPCs build upon their organisational capabilities and better contribute in developing the wider Paralympic Movement; supported by the IPC’s Worldwide Partner Toyota, the programme will run until 2024 and will reach over 140 countries.
As one of the workshop Mentors, Roy provided support to NPCs of Guinea and Senegal in topics of governance and planning, facilitated discussions and helped them through applied case studies. A native French speaker with experience in developing Para sports at the grassroots level, Roy’s next step is to support the NPC Delegates in implementing their action plans and monitoring their progress.
“I believe that some challenges to develop Para sports in West Africa are the stigma surrounding people with a disability, the lack of accessible and adequate infrastructures and the lack of resources of the NPCs,” Roy explained. “The staff in the NPCs generally work on a volunteer basis so it can be challenging to have the necessary human resources and competences represented.”
March’s session hosted NPC Delegates from Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal and Togo. They learned about governance and planning, then developed an action plan to be implemented with their respective Mentor over the next two years. Some NPCs had previously attended an OCP 1 workshop in August 2017 and continued implementation up to 2019. Prior to the Delegates workshop, Mentors also received a dedicated training to develop their own skills and knowledge.
IPC Membership Programmes Senior Manager Carolin Rickers said: “It was time to continue OCP in an online-format as response to COVID-19. The OCP team was very pleased to witness how much online learning and sharing of ideas has taken place between the eight West African NPCs. The action plans the NPC Delegates developed in support of their Mentors are the evidence! Knowing the resources of the participating NPCs, we highly appreciated they all organised internet access and engaged in the programme.”