Laureus Ambassador Tegla Loroupe has formally closed the first phase of one of the most successful sports projects in which the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation has ever been involved.
Laureus teamed up with International Inspiration, the official legacy programme of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to engage 400,000 young people from five Tanzanian regions by 2014, using physical education (PE) and sport to help develop leadership, education, work and life skills.
After a highly successful three years, more than 1.3 million young people have been involved and now Laureus is handing over operation of the project to the Tanzanian Government. The programme will now be called ‘National Inspiration’.
Tegla was joined at the event in Dar es Salaam by Kasimu Majaliwa, from the Tanzania Prime Minister’s Office, and Sihaba Nkinga, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Information, responsible for youth, culture and sports.
The International Inspiration Programme was conceived from a promise made by Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the 2012 London Olympic Games Organising Committee, in Singapore in 2005, as part of London’s bid to host the Games. The promise was to ‘reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Olympic Games so they are inspired to choose sport.’
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Sebastian Coe said: “We felt it was important to present an international legacy and we set a very simple, but significant target. Through International Inspiration, we wanted 12 million more young people involved in sport in 20 countries by 2012. You can't do that alone, you have to partner with other organisations and in Tanzania that was Laureus. I am delighted to say the programme has far exceeded our target, with over 25 million young people benefiting around the world. In Tanzania alone, with the help of Laureus, we have reached more than 1.3 million young people.”
Kasimu Majaliwa, from the Prime Minister’s Office, who is responsible for regional administration and local government, said: “The achievements that International Inspiration Tanzania celebrates today could not have been there if we did not have Laureus support. They have done a great job for the children and the youth of this country and on behalf of the government and myself, as a minister in the ministry responsible for supervising the implementation of education policy, I would like to thank Laureus for their support and assure them that we will sustain what we have achieved through our local initiatives.”
International Inspiration is the largest sport and social legacy initiative ever delivered in association with an Olympic and Paralympic Games. The programme trained over 225,000 teachers, coaches and young leaders to deliver high quality and inclusive PE and sport; influenced 55 policies, strategies or legislative changes; and inspired and enriched the lives of over 25 million children and young people around the world.
Laureus Ambassador Tegla Loroupe, who won the world championship for the half-marathon distance three times and was the first African woman to win the New York Marathon, said: “We are very proud of the work of the International Inspiration Programme in Tanzania with the support of Laureus. The best thing about this programme has been involving government, who will now make sure that the work is sustainable and replicated in other regions in Tanzania. I saw young people with and without disabilities playing together without any discrimination. This is a perfect demonstration of the power of sport in uniting people.”
The events in Dar es Salaam included a seminar involving regional sports officers from all over Tanzania to develop strategies for how National Inspiration could be replicated throughout the country.
Tanzania’s social problems include a tragically high rate of mortality due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and malaria and worrying drop-out rates in schools, where many spend just five years in the classroom. This has resulted in many people becoming trapped in a low-skilled, low-income environment.
With the Tanzanian Government recently re-introducing PE and sport in schools and the launch of a national sport strategy, the opportunity existed to put in place the International Inspiration programme, which has trained teachers, provided facilities and resources for sport in schools and the community and strengthened leadership, coaching and administration in sports governing bodies and clubs.