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“Secretariat puts youth at the center of sport mission”
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“Secretariat puts youth at the center of sport mission”

Carl Konadu

The use of sport to achieve development is sometimes under-estimated,  but it can be a unique, engaging and critical tool writes Carl Konadu, 21, a Correspondent from London, UK.  It confronts inequality and provides pathways of opportunity for young people.

With young people’s innate ability to identify with sport and its many valuable outputs, the Commonwealth has made a commitment to putting young people and sport at the center of sustainable development.

The Commonwealth has formed a Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) Youth Working Group. The group is made up of leading youth practitioners in the field of sport, development and peace, with demonstrated commitment to the cause.

The group’s vision is ‘to be the leading and driving voice for youth in the Commonwealth towards promoting best practices for sport, development and peace in their respective societies’.

With 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population under the age of 30, the Working Group plays a critical role in ensuring that the voices and perspectives of youth are fed into the wider discussions on sport for development and peace.

The Commonwealth Secretariat will coordinate the Working Group by supporting youth networks and representative structures across the Commonwealth. The Secretariat will also work towards advancing the status and recognition of the role that sports can play in supporting broader development efforts across the Commonwealth.

Ten practitioners from various backgrounds, representing organizations and institutions from across the Commonwealth, were invited to form the initial Working Group. It will open up into a wider network for young people pan-Commonwealth to feed into. Members were identified based on their experience, expertise, understanding and passion for sports for development and peace.

With advocacy and research underpinning the way, the group has identified education, empowerment and peace-building as the three thematic areas they will focus in their attempt to advance development through sports in the Commonwealth.

For that reason, the group will have the task of transforming into a wider network that draws on NGOs, government agencies, organizations from different sectors and young experts to help advance development through sport.

Sport is recognized by the group as a tool to put young people at the center of sustainable development. It is this message that the Working Group will take to key policy making forums in the Commonwealth, as part of a broader remit to contribute to the strengthening of sports for development and peace in the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Games 2014 will be held in Glasgow, Scotland. Apart from having an economic and social impact on the local communities, the games will be a hub for local sports for development and peace initiatives. It will provide an opportunity to bring marginalized groups in from the dark and increase social cohesion.

Beyond this, the group will champion the key role youth play in advancing the use of sport for development across the Commonwealth. This is an opportunity for policy makers to interface with a representative group of young leaders in this space.

There is much excitement around the Commonwealth about young people having the opportunity to feed into a platform and focus on thematic areas such as sport, education and climate change.

Youth in the Commonwealth are currently center stage with the up and coming Commonwealth Youth Forum and the elections into the new Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC). As a result, groups such as the SDP Youth Working Group, Commonwealth Students Association (CSA) and the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network will be keen to begin working towards their goals and help integrate young people with specific expertise into the development process.

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About me:

I am an International Relations and Politics student from London. I live by the notion that ‘The World Is Yours’ and as a result you can do anything you put your mind to. 
With a background of sport, I have a passion for the SDP sector as well as the governance of sport and the use of sport by governments as a diplomatic tool.  

Some of my interests include the sustainable rise of Africa, financial markets and general international affairs. 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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