Sir Keith Mills, Deputy Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has recently returned from Mozambique where he visited projects supported by International Inspiration, London 2012’s international legacy programme for children and young people.
Sir Keith spent some time in the capital Maputo and the rural area of Chibuto to witness first-hand how sport and play is being used to inspire children. During his stay, Sir Keith took part in a community radio programme and sports festivals and spoke passionately about how sport should play an important role in every child’s life.
Speaking of his experience in south-east Africa, Sir Keith said: "We often take for granted access to sport and play opportunities and the benefits these can bring. Sport is an enormously powerful way to get children and young people engaged and into education. It’s a great teaching tool – whether it’s educating them about HIV/AIDS or gender equality – and all young people should have the same opportunities to access sport."
"Thanks to International Inspiration in Mozambique, this is happening. It’s been fantastic meeting young people and teachers here in Mozambique who practically demonstrate how International Inspiration is having such a huge impact on their lives."
International Inspiration has a presence in seven out of 11 provinces in Mozambique where it is working with the local government in more than 700 schools to train teachers, provide sports kits and help young people gain the skills they need to become peer leaders in their communities. This is important in a country where many school teachers have no formal training in physical education or in running sport activities.
A physical education resource developed in the UK called ‘TOPs’ has been adapted for use in Mozambique by International Inspiration delivery partners the British Council, UNICEF and UK Sport, working with a task force including organisations such as the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education.
Sir Keith visited four schools who are benefitting from International Inspiration and had the opportunity to talk with the students, teachers and directors involved, including Eva, 19, a Young Leader, who said: "International Inspiration has changed my life, it has changed so much. I am now a different person, I am so determined. I am now able to encourage and motivate other people to play sports. It has changed my life so much that I don't think there are enough words for me to describe this."
A first from the Olympic and Paralympic movements for children and young people, International Inspiration is already enriching the lives of young people in 16 countries. Through the provision of high quality and inclusive physical education – equally for boys and girls - , sport and play, International Inspiration is working not only children and young people, but also their teachers, community volunteers and coaches as well as governments to ensure that the results are sustainable and life-changing for future generations.