The social impact of sport worldwide

From 2007 to 2012, I was lucky enough to work for the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) as communications officer. The mandate of the Office, in a nutshell, is to advocate worldwide for the social impact of sport. In my capacity, I accompanied and assisted the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke (Werder Bremen's former manager), on 15+ missions around the globe. Here is a small selection of what I was able to snap in passing.

Boys playing football on a dirt pitch upgraded by the NGO 'Kilimanjaro Initiative' (www.kiworld.org) in 2007, in partnership with the local community and authorities. The field is located in Kibera (Nairobi, Kenya), Africa's largest urban slum.
The sports field provides a safe-haven for many young people in the slum.
With an unemployment rate of 50%, disillusionment is a chronic symptom in Kibera - many finding solace in alcohol and drug consumption. This in turns leads to a number of social ills, such as violence, crime and rape. Sport can be a powerful catalyst for positive change there.
Spanish national and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas launches the educational comic book “Score the Goals” at the United Nations in Geneva - 24 January 2011 
Cricket practice at sunrise on the ghats of Varanasi (India) - May 2009
Cricket practice at sunrise on the ghats of Varanasi (India) - May 2009
The Grael brothers – Torben (5 Olympic medals in sailing), Lars (2 Olympic medals in sailing) and Axel (sailor, forester and environmentalist) – run a social and educational programme dedicated to under-privileged youth around the city of Niterói (Rio de Janeiro). There, they offer a combination of sailing activities, vocational training (sail loft, fibre glass, woodwork, electronics, refrigeration, motor maintenance, etc.) and supplementary education. The Grael Project has won awards and recognition from UNESCO and UNICEF, among others.
Originally launched in 2000 by former English amateur boxer Luke Dowdney in the Complexo da Maré – a complex of favelas in Rio de Janeiro – Fight for Peace (Luta pela Paz) combines the power of boxing and martial arts with education and personal development to realise the potential of young people in communities affected by crime and violence.
Complexo da Maré is one of the biggest complexes of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Young people growing up in Maré face high levels of poverty, limited public services, social and economic exclusion and human rights abuses. Maré has suffered decades of drug related violence due to the presence of all three of the city’s drug factions and an armed militia group. The community is currently undergoing a process of pacification with the implementation of the UPP community policing programme.
UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke (centre) visits the Fight for Peace academy in Complexo da Maré, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) - September 2010
UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke (centre) visits the Fight for Peace academy in Complexo da Maré, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) - September 2010
UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke speaks to children and youth at the Reação Institute, in the Rocinha favela, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The institute was founded in 2003 by judo Olympic medallist Flávio Canto, with the objective of “promoting human development and social inclusion by means of the practice of judo and complementary activities.”
Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil. Most of the favela is on a very steep hill, with many trees surrounding it. Almost 70,000 (census 2010) people live in the favela.
UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke holds a keynote address at the opening of the first-ever ‘World Aquatics Convention’ in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on 27 September 2010. In his speech, he points out the important role sports federations can play towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. “No one dies from not learning how to play football or tennis; but people do die in great numbers from not learning how to swim,” Lemke declared. “By working hand in hand with the United Nations, the world of sport can save and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Kids playing cricket in the streets of Galle (Sri Lanka) - July 2010
Galle's Fort (Sri Lanka) is traditionally a meeting point for local cricket enthusiasts - July 2010
Galle's Fort (Sri Lanka) is traditionally a meeting point for local cricket enthusiasts - July 2010
Galle's Fort (Sri Lanka) is traditionally a meeting point for local cricket enthusiasts - July 2010
The Bola Pra Frente institute, created by several former Brazilian football players and supported by Nike, creates new opportunities (through sports, education, art, culture and vocational training) for thousands of children and adolescents otherwise in danger of falling prey to the many dangers of the Guadalupe favela, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
Like many other favelas in Rio, Guadalupe is plagued by poverty, lack of public services, corruption, violence and a profound lack of opportunities. Football is the bait that brings the children in, but education is what propels them onto a better future.
Late afternoon friendly volleyball game in Ella (Sri Lanka) - July 2010
In Burundi, the Turikumwe project (supported by the International Judo Federation) mobilizes the power of judo to help advance various humanitarian and social causes. Since November 2008, the project is present at Akamuri, a centre accommodating young people with disabilities.
Akamuri is probably one of the only facilities of its kind in Burundi. Every year, it provides care and treatment to about 300 children suffering from physical and mental disabilities.
The international NGO 'Right To Play' began operations in Burundi in late 2008. The programme was originally designed to respond to the needs of the many Burundian returnees who had been repatriated from Tanzania.
Young athletes preparing for the 2009 UNRWA ‘Gaza Summer Games’ - 8 June 2009
Young Palestinian athletes training at Gaza's National Stadium - 8 June 2009
Boy playing cricket in the outskirts of Dhaka (Bangladesh) - December 2010
Kids playing cricket in the outskirts of Dhaka (Bangladesh) - December 2010
Hope Solo, goalkeeper of the US women's national football (soccer) team, during the 2012 London Olympic final against Japan.
The US team won gold medal, beating Japan 2-1. This American fan could barely contain his emotions.
Disappointment of a Japanese supporter after his team lost to the USA in the 2012 London Olympic final at the Wembley Stadium - 9 August 2012
The US football (soccer) team receives their gold medal. The silver medal goes to Japan and the bronze one to Canada - Wembley Stadium, London, 9 August 2012
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