Strategic Engineering Experience DriveAfrique (SEEDAFRIC) Liquid Sports Ghana (LSG) and Women in Sports Network Ghana (WISNETGH) have held a historic first-ever International Day of Sports for Development and Peace (IDSDP) 2022 on Wednesday, 6th April at the Accra Sports stadium.
The celebration highlighted the power of sports as an agent for social change and community development, promoting human rights and promoting sustainable development.
The President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo is currently serving as co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates. This year’s global theme of the IDSDP is, “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport.”
The event at the Media Center, Accra Sports stadium was chaired by a prominent pharmacist, Mr. Richard Acheampong, Managing Director of Rokmer Pharma Ltd, who offered words of wisdom to the school children about the importance of school and sports.
Welcoming participants to the function, the founder of Women in Sports Network Ghana, Philippina Frimpong highlighted the importance of the day ahead of Ghana’s hosting of the 13th African Games next year. Ms. Frimpong explained the objectives of her organisation in helping girls and women achieve their aims in life using sports as a tool for development.
In a message read on her behalf by the Head of the Culture Sector, Carl Ampah UNESCO Office in Accra, the Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay observed that sports carry an ethic of living together and of peace which is particularly needed in these “troubled times.”
“Sport, as COVID-19 has reminded us, is also central to the psychological well-being of individuals. The decrease in physical activity is, therefore, a major issue for both physical and mental health,” Azoulay noted.
In a speech read on his behalf by a Deputy Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Sam Korsah, the Chief Director of the Ministry commended event organisers for organising the event while noting that sports have the potential of contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He reiterated the notion that sport offers a cost-effective tool to meet many development and peace challenges as evidenced by developments in Liberia and Ivory Coast where sports was used as a tool to broker peace among warring factions.
A lecturer at the University of Education Winneba, Dr. Ernest Acheampong, provided a practical demonstration of how sports can be used as a tool to advance human rights and sustainable development. He referenced a project he undertook with World Badminton Federation dubbed, “Badminton: A model for promoting well-being and livelihood in a slum community in Winneba Municipality.”
The United Nations has designated every 6th of April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) to recognize the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and people’s lives across the globe.
Former Black Stars players Godfried Aduobe and Rev. Awuley Quaye Jnr. joined the celebration, urging the young boys and girls to continue to work hard to achieve their aims in life.
Three-time Paralympian and founder of the Go Get Them Wheelchair Racing club Raphael Botyso Nkegbe, made an appearance to share his story of surviving the stigma associated with disability and to triumph on the biggest stage in sports.
Renowned boxing coach and Olympian Ofori Asare led some youngsters from his famed Wisdom Boxing gym to exhibit what they dubbed as the ‘sweet science’ at the function.
The organisers held a fun-filled robotic session for the school children which saw the youngsters assembling remotely controlled robot cars, and engaging in a sprint contest. Co-founder of SEEDAfrique, Billy James Dega, said the session could particularly be beneficial to people who are not physically involved in sports to code and control robots on their behalf.
Meanwhile, participants at the one-day event were refreshed by Cowbell Milk. Participating schools included the Osu Salem Boys J.H.S., St. Barnabas Anglican Basic School, and Presby 2 Day School. The organisers presented Cowbell milk products to the participating schools, and other deserving individuals.
One of the pupils at the function commented about his experience at the event by saying, “I have learned to be serious with my schooling so if I am unable to excel in sports, my academics can help me.”
According to the organisers, the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace will become an annual event in the country.