Sports for Development and Peace

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sports is one of the most discussed subjects in this country. Yet its true value is not fully appreciated by a majority of the people in the country.

To many, sports is simply a competition whose outcome is win or lose. To others, sports provides avenues for business. Few however perceive sports as a vehicle to develop individuals, communities and nations.

As a veritable development tool, the phenomenon called sports needs to be well understood and appreciated in order to apply its principles to our daily lives. For real there's the need to invest a lot in sports as it is a tool for development and peace.

Investing in sports means you are seeking to achieve the following policy objectives: national integration and unity, international friendship, solidarity and cooperation, a stable environment of equality, peace and democracy.

It is undeniable that sports, from play to physical activity to organized competitive sports, plays an important role in our society. It is also critical to children's development on account of its ability to impact core values like cooperation and respect on children. It also improves health, reduces incidence of disease and provides employment opportunities. Sports also brings individuals and communities together and bridges cultural and ethnic divisions. It is no doubt an effective catalyst for economic development. That is why the UN has identified sports as a tool for attaining the eight Millennium Development Goals.

These are 1) Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. 2) Achieving universal primary education. 3) Promoting gender equality and empowering women. (4&5) Reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. 6) Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. 7) Ensuring environmental sustainability and (8) Developing a global partnership for development.

Sports for development and peace creates avenues for all citizens, irrespective of age, sex, physical ability or vocation to engage in one form of physical activity, or the other. It ensures that the root causes of the issues that challenge human development are addressed.

Among the challenges are health, education, peaceful co-existence, eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, gender equality, child morality, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Therefore we encourage the government of The Gambia to cater adequately for sports.