06 December 2017 - As part of UNODC's work in promoting sport as a valuable tool for youth crime prevention, sports and education experts from ten different countries met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in late-November. With participants from across the globe attending, the study visit served as an ideal opportunity to bring together a diverse group in order to share best practices and familiarize them with the methodology of UNODC's life skills sports-based training programme - Line Up Live Up.
The week featured a series of interactive presentations, roundtable discussions and site visits to observe innovative ways to engage at-risk youth by using sport as a vehicle for both diversion and social-change. A two-day workshop attended by lead trainers and coaches from Bangladesh, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, India, Kyrgyzstan, the State of Palestine, Peru, South Africa and Uganda provided insights on the Line Up Live Up sports-based life skills training curriculum and its implementation. As one participant from the Dominican Republic noted, "I learned a lot during the study visit on sports and youth crime prevention and find the Line Up Live Up initiative very interesting. It helps youth to build a better future in their lives and could be implemented in my country as well".
The hosting of the event in Brazil follows a series of activities held in the country since mid-2016. As one of the global pilots for Line Up Live Up - alongside Kyrgyzstan and South Africa - UNODC has been working closely with authorities in the country to promote sport for prevention and initiate various pilot activities around sports centres in marginalized communities in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. Following the signing of an earlier Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretariat of Sports, Tourism and Leisure for the Federal District in Brasilia, this past week saw a complementary one signed with the Secretariat for Sports and Leisure in the city of Rio de Janeiro - key supporters of the activities that were rolled out. Speaking on this, Julio Carlos Morandi, Under-Secretary of Sports, commented: "I welcome the partnership with UNODC, as it brings added value to the work being implemented by Olympic Villages of the city of Rio de Janeiro to prevent youth crime, drug use and violence and promote healthy and positive attitudes among youth and young teenagers".
https://youtu.be/gaGG7DW7B4sAt the signing, the Representative of UNODC's Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil, Rafael Franzini, also announced the three non-governmental organizations that have been selected as recipients of a small grants scheme to promote sport for prevention in Brazil: Instituto Rumo Náutico, Fundação Assis Chateaubriand and Instituto Companheiros das Américas. Mr. Franzini noted, "UNODC grants aim to promote the role of civil society in raising awareness and supporting sports based initiatives for crime prevention in local communities". The awarded proposals are in support of small-scale, community-based initiatives that use sports such as football and sailing to develop life skills and encourage citizenship and participation of youth in local communities. Along with vocational training opportunities, these aim to prevent school dropouts, support access to employment and eventually prevent violence, substance use and crime. Similar initiatives to support local NGOs are planned in 2018 in the other two piloting countries of Kyrgyzstan and South Africa.
The closing ceremony was also joined by the Second Secretary and Head of Consular Affairs at the Embassy of the State of Qatar, Mr. Abdulaziz Ahmad A. Al-Mahmoudi, whose country generously supports the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, under which this initiative is being carried out. Mr. Al-Mahmoudi expressed his appreciation for the efforts made by UNODC and the Brazilian authorities in supporting the Global Programme and ultimately the work being done to promote sports as a tool through which youth crime can be prevented.
Under the Global Programme, UNODC is working with partners around the world to promote evidence-based, youth crime prevention and develop innovative ways to reach out to youth at risk of offending. This study visit constitutes an important step towards inspiring and mobilizing policy makers and practitioners around the world that are committed to making youth more resilient to violence, crime and drug use.