Ghana is privileged to be the first country to receive training on the United Nation’s toolkit for sport, development, and peace.
The toolkit was validated in Zimbabwe in November 2022 after a series of preparatory workshops were held in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.
However, Ghana was chosen as the first country to benefit from the training.
This was disclosed at a two-day workshop held at the University of Ghana to train a cross-section of individuals and organisations on the implementation of the UN toolkit.
Dr. Wilfred Ochan, UNFPA Country Representative in Ghana acknowledged the effort of all stakeholders in coming up with the toolkit.
He explained that Ghana was strategically chosen as the first country to have this workshop due to the country’s preparedness to host the 2023 Africa Games so that lessons learnt could be implemented as part of the Game’s legacy.
Experts identified Sport, development and peace policies and programmes, Skills training, volunteerism, employability, and mentorship; Physical education, physical activity, and sport; Safeguarding, integrity, and human rights; Values, social inclusion, and role modelling; Awareness, advocacy and social; and Monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs as areas that needed attention and must addressed.
Dr Bella Bello Bitugu, Director of Sports at the University of Ghana and convener of the workshop explained that the workshop in Ghana was to introduce all modules in detail with a view of developing, implementing, and reviewing policies on sport, development and peace that were inclusive and benefitted all social groups in society.
“This workshop aims to share knowledge, concepts, experiences, good policy practices and recommendations to fully utilize the modules to create effective SDP policies and programs, ” he noted.
Mr. Paul Semeh, Founder and CEO of Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF), and representative of Civil Society Organizations, mentioned that at SCEF, they had witnessed firsthand the transformative power of sport and play-based learning in the lives of street-connected children.
“We realized very early on that simply taking these children from the streets and placing them directly into schools did not work. They faced significant challenges with life skills, making it difficult for them to adapt to formal education and independent living.
“To address this, SCEF developed a sport and play-based curriculum that imparts essential life skills to street-connected children, preparing them for formal education and equipping them for independent lives. We firmly believe that sport for development and play-based learning should be cross-cutting themes in all our programs,” he noted.
Mr. Semeh added that in 2014, SCEF opened its Learning Hub, a comprehensive facility that included a Library, Craft Lab, Classroom, and a specially designed play space.
“This hub serves as a center for providing social services to street-connected children and offers after-school educational support services. The Play Space within the hub is where we conduct life skills training using sports and play, he explained.
Facilitators, Mr. Robert Venne took participants through the Introduction to UN Toolkit on Sport, Development and Peace and Module on Skills Training, Volunteerism, Employability and Mentorship while Prof. Cora Burnett also took participants through the SDP Policies and Programmes Module, and Module on Values, Social Inclusion and Role Modelling.
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