UK Sport has seconded an adviser to the Commonwealth Secretariat to aid the roll out of its Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) action plan, which uses sport as a tool to help realise international development goals.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the Secretariat’s headquarters in London between Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, and the International Development Director for UK Sport, Debbie Lye, on 1 August 2011.
Under the agreement, UK Sport International Sport Development Manager Oliver Dudfield will join the Secretariat’s Youth Affairs Division as a sports adviser for two years.
Working alongside the Secretariat’s Sports Adviser, S S Chhabra, the two experts will prepare a strategy and toolkit on using sport as a tool for human and social development goals, and assist in the alignment of the Secretariat’s SDP work plan with the UN Office of Sport for Development and Peace strategic plan.
Mrs Masire-Mwamba said sport has been a key part of the Commonwealth’s strategy for youth development and engagement. She added that the secondment would boost the initial work done on integrating sport for development into the Secretariat’s agenda and its regional centres’ work plans.
“All of us agreed that this is something that can’t wait. We have new technologies that we should harness to the best of our ability and we have a willingness within our youth who want to be engaged,” she said.
UK Sport invests in the nation’s athletes to maximise medal success at high-level sporting events including the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is also involved in international sport development, where it works to strengthen sports systems within developing countries to increase the opportunities for young people to participate in sport.
Ms Lye said the contribution that sport has made to development can be seen in the UK and around the world.
“What we’ve learnt is that sport can be a vehicle for engaging young people in education, it can be a vehicle for teachers learning new skills and interacting with young people,” she explained.
The Interim Director of the Secretariat’s Youth Affairs Division, Henry Charles, said Mr Dudfield’s secondment comes at a critical time for the Secretariat’s plans on sport.
“We’re now at a stage, where in the last two weeks we’ve launched a mapping exercise to collect data on what sports for development initiatives exist in the Commonwealth.
“This will be followed by a meeting in October 2011 with key divisions in the Secretariat on integrating sports for development into their working agenda,” he stated.
Mr Dudfield noted the work of the UK government in the past 20 years has shown the potential sport has to contribute to development.
“I’m looking forward to working with the key stakeholders the Secretariat engages with, be they member governments or non-government or community stakeholders,” he said.