15 May 2020 – One of the many limitations of the stay at home orders, which remain effective around most of the world, is its impact on physical movement in large spaces for the sake of exercise. For people accustomed to the regular practice of sports, whether in a gym, in parks or even on streets, suddenly renouncing to these activities can be difficult, sometimes causing stress which only adds to the anxiety of these new global circumstances.
Staying at home, however, does not mean one is forced to become sedentary.
In the past month, over 20,000 people in Uzbekistan have risen to the challenge of the country’s Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports and UNODC to Line Up, Live Up from their homes, and to then share those special moments on social media accounts. The details of the challenge, including a message by UNODC Regional Representative Ashita Mittal, were broadcast and covered by national television channels, reaching an audience of over 1.5 million.
The engaging initiative, developed by the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, promotes sports as a means to build life skills, instil positive values, and build resilience in the face of difficult situations, thus ultimately contributing to crime prevention. While the Global Programme aims primarily at supporting youth through Line Up, Live Up, the concept is effective for all ages - if only judging from the wide variety of sports videos posted by several generations in one month.
The instructions were simple: participants were to film themselves doing a given physical activity at home and then post a short video on social media networks with the hashtags #LineUpLiveUp and #StayAtHome. In under three minutes, they had to comment on the sports’ positive effect on them and share how it helped them in their daily lives, especially during the confinement as the world deals with COVID-19. While taking part in the initiative was considered in itself rewarding enough with its impact on attitude, mind and body, participants were also enticed by the chance of winning exercise equipment; a jury composed of UNODC and Ministry officials chose winning entries on a weekly basis for the duration of the challenge.
In every corner of the country, with ages ranging from 7 to 87, many Uzbeks were inspired by UNODC’s sports challenge to get moving and to share their experiences. Young people, entire families, students, workers and retired people, and even athletes, sports celebrities and national sports associations took part in the exercise. Hasanboy Dusmatov, Gold Medallist in boxing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, encouraged his huge online following to join in: “Let me greet you, dear compatriots, and congratulate everyone on the International Day of Sports. Stay at home, take part in the #LineUpLiveUp challenge, and improve your health.”
In addition to the physical exercise and psychological benefits, this challenge also strengthened the sense of community, with numerous entries referring to the importance of having everyone stay home and thus fight the spread of the virus, together. For Dilmurod Nabiev, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan, the success of this initiative was an encouragement to develop further activities of the sort: “This sport challenge received excellent feedback from the all categories of population and was very timely. Through our strategic partnership with UNODC, we are considering a plan of joint activities for 2020-2021.”
Uzbekistan is one of the 12 pilot countries of UNODC’s Line Up, Live Up initiative on strengthening life skills to build youth resilience to crime, violence and drug use.
Youth Crime Prevention through Sports