News and Events: Press releases

UK leads “International Inspiration” as developing countries get sporting boost

21 January 2008 - The Prime Minister announced today a £9 million investment program to support sporting projects in five developing countries around the world. The pilot is the start of a larger programme called “International Inspiration” which will deliver on the promise made to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Singapore of engaging and inspiring the youth of the world through sport.

The pilot programmes are taking place in Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Palau and Zambia and project work has already started in each of these countries. In India, the Prime Minister is visiting Delhi where he attended an event featuring young schoolchildren playing mixed sex football matches and met with Lakshmi, a tribal girl archer from Jharkhand who is now a world class athlete. He also met UK teachers from schools involved in the programme.

Funding for the pilot programme, which runs until 2010 and is being led by UK Sport, the Government’s international sports agency, includes contributions from DFID, UNICEF, the British Council, the FA Premier League and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). Further announcements on how the programme will develop beyond the pilot will be made in the coming months.

Speaking in India, which will receive £3.6million of the funding for projects across the country, the Prime Minister said: “International Inspiration will use the power of sport to transform the lives of millions of children and young people in schools and communities in countries across the globe. It will seek not only to help deliver the ambitions promised in Singapore but also to lay the foundations for a long term international legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s a programme of which I am immensely proud, and the work going on here in India is a testament to its importance.”

International Inspiration will look to create opportunities for children and young people of all abilities from the most disadvantaged communities in the world to enrich their lives by playing and excelling in sport. The programme aims include ensuring that any work done is sustainable and will have a lasting benefit across the communities it embraces.
Each pilot country will benefit from a number of mutually agreed programmes across the following three strands:

  • physical education in schools and school links
  • sport development and sporting excellence,
  • human and social development through sport

International Inspiration will also have a strong link back into the UK through school links, providing opportunities for the partners to demonstrate the impact of their work overseas to children and young people across the country and raise awareness of the issues faced in the developing world.

Tessa Jowell, Olympics Minister, added: “This is a fantastic programme, and one which is a cornerstone of the Olympic legacy. Part of the success of our 2012 bid was the promise that London would inspire children across the world, and this is one important step toward that ambition. Sport is the catalyst for many very positive changes, and the International Inspiration programme aims to harness its power and inspire generations of people in countries around the world.”

Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of LOCOG (the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olmpic and Paralympic Games), said: "Our vision is to use the power of the games to inspire change - and changing the lives of young people in particular is the driving force behind our plans. As part of our pledge to the IOC in Singapore, we committed to inspire young people around the world to choose sport. This is a tangible example of how we are delivering on this promise and using the power and magic of sport to change the lives of young people around the world - and leave a lasting international legacy."

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, said: "We have an incredible opportunity to use the International Inspiration sports initiative to improve the health and education of millions of children in developing countries. Sport is a natural medium for engaging and empowering young people and can provide them with essential life skills such as leadership, self-confidence and team work. The potential of sport as a tool to promote human development should not be underestimated."

Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, said: “UK Sport is delighted to be leading this unique Programme. It is very important that we do everything in our power to maximise the global legacy of London 2012 and International Inspiration gives the UK a formidable platform to start achieving this. We very much look forward to working with our partners on the pilot to ensure its success and expand it further, using the experience and expertise we have built up over many years of running international development through sport programmes."

The Premier League is the largest contributor in this new initiative to date with £4.2 million of the investment from their recent broadcast deal. Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: "The Premier League has worked with Government for many years on a range of successful community and education projects that target some of the most disadvantaged areas of England. We are fortunate that there is a phenomenal interest in the Premier League overseas and we look forward to broadening the positive impact we can have through a number of similar projects in developing countries all over the world."

David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK, said: “For children in the developing world, sport can be a powerful force for advancing their health, education and well-being. UNICEF UK is excited to be part of the International Inspiration programme which will harness the power of sport and give millions of children in disadvantaged communities the chance to take part in sport and transform their lives”.

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this important new initiative which we hope will be a lasting contribution to the legacy of London 2012. With our partners we will work with young people from around the world, using the inspirational power of sport to help them develop new skills and take their place as members of the global community.”

Notes for editors

The development of International Inspiration is being led by UK Sport, the Government’s agency for international sporting development, in partnership with UNICEF, the British Council, LOCOG and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. They will work with organisations able to offer international expertise in the fields of sport, development and education such as the British Olympic Foundation, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The five pilot countries were selected following extensive consultation with the FCO, DFID and the Council of Europe to determine priority countries. The Australian Sports Commission and partners from UK Sport’s existing International Development Assistance Programme were also involved in the discussions.

The 'Singapore Vision’ is the promise made by the successful London 2012 Olympic bid team to “reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport.”

Media contacts

For UK: Sport Tim Hollingsworth, Director of Policy & Communications 0044 (0)20 7211 5144 / 0044 (0)7802 574647

For DCMS: Kate Hilton, Press Officer 0044 (0)20 7211 6215 / 0044 (0)7795440740

For DFID: Helle Nordberg, DFID Press Office, 0044 (0)20 7023 0600 / 0044 (0)7990852934

For LOCOG: Joanna Manning-Cooper, Head of PR/Media 0044 (0)203 2012 106 / 0044 (0)7753 811353

For UNICEF: Gina Dafalia, Senior Media Officer 0044 (0)20 7312 7695 / 0044 (0)7958 058 106

For British Council: James Keegan, Advisor, Sport in Education 00 44 (0)207 389 4720


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