Sport for Life Youth Leadership Camp
The energy of youth is on display this week in Dili, Timor-Leste, where the “Sport for Life Youth Leadership Camp” is bringing together youth from all 13 municipalities of the country. From July 4th to 16th, they are trained to become facilitators themselves, to replicate the Sport for Life activities and to spread the positive influence of sport on youth development across the country, conducting the events at the sub-municipal level, so that every young person is given the opportunity to engage.
As a partnership between UNESCO and SportImpact, an international NGO, the Sport for Life initiative is designed to harness the power of youth to confront social challenges through sport. It builds the capacity of young women and men to become change-makers. All relevant stakeholders collaborate to use sport as a tool for inclusion of underprivileged communities, providing opportunities for human development even in the most remote areas of Timor-Leste.
The idea behind the initiative is simple yet powerful: sport is a proven means for positive transformation and social inclusion of young people. From playing games with the peers in a schoolyard to a serious pursuit of a sports discipline, the practice opens a unique opportunity to learn important values and to engage in teamwork and cooperation. These lessons help to shape attitudes and provide models of good conduct that last a lifetime.
The Sport for Life started in 2015 as a series of workshops delivered by SportImpact with UNESCO’s support in all municipalities of Timor-Leste, empowering the youth to develop solutions to their needs and dreams.
In the second phase of the project launched in 2016, the focus shifts from municipal to sub-municipal level. To maintain a focus on local ownership, development and sustainability, the initiative follows a gradual empowerment strategy, where over time the project is handed over to local actors. The participants of the ongoing Youth Training Camp will graduate as the facilitators to take Sport for Life to the sub-municipality level. In each sub-municipality they will run the one-week Sport for Life initiative: a five-day workshop to build the capacity of the local youth and sport leaders to organize sport events, followed by a one-day multi-sport event, co-organized with workshop graduates and with as many local groups and organizations as possible. The event will include all members of the community, especially hundreds of kids from the nearby schools.