29 May 2017 - In mid-May, UNODC organized its first Youth Dialogue event in Brasilia as part of the Office's ongoing work in using sports as a tool to counter youth crime through the development of vital life skills. Bringing together over 20 adolescents aged 11 to 17 from Olympic Centers that serve under-privileged communities, the group discussed how sports influence their lives and how UNODC can ultimately use this as a vehicle to build resilience of at-risk youth and prevent them from engaging in violence, crime and drug use.
The Youth Dialogue gave participants the opportunity to share opinions and personal experiences on these issues, as well as how sport offers them a way to lead healthier and safer lives. The transformative role of sport in the life of children and adolescents was highlighted, and specifically its capacity to encourage the pursuit of life goals and the development of social skills.
Youth also highlighted how sports practice promotes the breaking of socially reinforced stereotypes and prejudices. One participant, Laura, age 11, spoke about how "society would be more attractive if people were open to changing their views" regarding stereotypes. As an indoor football player at a sports centre in the area of Brazlândia, she is astutely aware of gender bias: "There is still a lot of prejudice against women in football, but the opportunities we get to play in our centre helps to bring change." Participants also emphasized the importance of self-awareness and of the ability to ask for help in order to identify and move away from deviant influences.
https://youtu.be/9FmXlCkSCkIPart of the Doha Declaration Global Programme, UNODC is committed to assisting Member States in using the power of sport to prevent youth violence and crime in a number of ways. The development of an evidence-informed training programme - Line Up Live Up - ultimately helps sports coaches to incorporate skills training in their day to day activities, with the input received during the Youth Dialogue to be used in further fine-tuning the initiative.