Four Qatar youth take part in UN leadership camp
LANI ROSE R DIZON
DOHA AROUND 30 youngsters from nine countries in the sub-Saharan Africa and the Palestinian territory as well as four youth from Qatar are participating in the pilot UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp, which was inaugurated by the United Nations Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke, in Doha on Monday.
The 10-day leadership camp is aimed at empowering the young participants to deliver sportbased social programmes which they would take back home to implement in their impoverished local communities.
The camp is a first of its kind and is organised by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) in collaboration with the Canadian-based international NGO Right to Play and the Dohabased Aspire Zone Foundation.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Lemke said that Qatar will be a home country for the initiative, which is slated to be held four times a year, with three camps being organised in three different countries and one being held in Doha every year.
“The United Nations has long understood the unique power of sports for change. But a strong leadership is needed for that change to happen. The UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp provides concrete and practical leadership skills from some of the best leaders and experts in the field in a collaborative spirit.
This ensures that the lessons learnt will guide these young leaders in their future endeavours,” he added.
The participants, including 18 young women and 12 young men, have been chosen for their significant contribution at various grassroots Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) projects in their home countries.
The camp will provide the students with experiential learning and consists of a curriculum addressing themes, like health, gender, disability, education and peace.
Nine additional sports organisations (including the International Paralympic Committee, the International Judo, Basketball and Table Tennis Federations and Liverpool FC), the German development agency, GIZ, and six NGOs have lent their support to the project by identifying the participants, sending experts to Doha or making in-kind donations.
The UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp is hosted by the Aspire Dome in Doha. Aspire Academy Director General Ivan Bravo said, “This initiative goes well with our objective and vision to develop not just sports champions, but champions in life. These young people are true leaders in their communities and represent the best which sports could produce in a country, which is positive change.” One of the participants, Samantha Lukonde, has started working as a youth leader at the age of 15 in her hometown of Lusaka, Zambia. She has conducted numerous training sessions for the youth in her community and region for drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention. As a facilitator, she holds debates and discussions for gender empowerment and developing young girls’ skills. After the camp, Samantha wishes to use sport to address the UN Millennium Development Goal 3 ‘Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women’ in her community and the country as a whole.
The other officials present at the event were Johann Olav Koss, President and CEO, Right to Play, and Gary Adlen, Foundation Director, Liverpool FC.