It’s been an eventful time recently for International Inspiration, London 2012’s groundbreaking international legacy programme. We've had two back-to-back high profile opportunities to showcase the tremendous work being done opening doors for children to play sport around the world.
Firstly, I was delighted to be invited to address the audience at the Sport Industry Awards where 1,600 high profile industry representatives gathered on 11 May to celebrate the achievements of the UK sport business. The reaction on the evening was really positive and it was great to be able to highlight this ground-breaking initiative to a new audience. This reaction was boosted by the presence of three of our International Inspiration ambassadors, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson who have visited projects in Jordan, India and Trinidad & Tobago respectively.
Secondly, Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and Olympics, made a keynote speech about International Inspiration at the United Nations (UN) & International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Geneva the day before the Sport Industry Awards. This was an opportunity to demonstrate to delegates how International Inspiration and the use of sport can help work towards achieving the UN ‘Millennium Development Goals’.
The forum was also attended by IOC President Jacques Rogge – both the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) support and welcome the opportunity that International Inspiration is bringing to connect millions of young people around the world with the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
These two occasions offered a fabulous platform to showcase a programme that we're really proud of and one which is enabling millions of children across the world the access to sport and play.
Welcoming Tanzania to International Inspiration
On the ground, International Inspiration has now reached almost 11 million children in 15 countries. Most recently, the programme has entered its 16th country – Tanzania – where two of its key focuses will be on increasing the opportunities for girls and children with disabilities to participate in sport.
Often, these two groups have limited access to physical education, but working with key stakeholders in the country, including the British Council, the National Olympic and Paralympic Committees and the Tanzanian government, International Inspiration hopes to make a difference.
Projects that will be developed over the course of the three-year initiative include encouraging young women to lead and participate in the delivery of sport in schools and communities; and training teachers to offer more accessible PE lessons. This will allow girls and children with disabilities a better opportunity to take part.
Similar International Inspiration led initiatives in countries such as Jordan, Azerbaijan and Bangladesh have been tremendously successful with a real and lasting legacy being built for these two groups in particular.
Welcoming Tanzania to the International Inspiration family brings us one step closer to our vision of enriching the lives of 12 million children in 20 countries. I hope to be able to share many more opportunities showcasing the work of International Inspiration – and to demonstrate the positive impact it is having on young people around the world in the coming months.