Olympism365: Using sport to advance the education and development of young people in Latin America
International Olympic Committee
30 Oct 2023 – On the sidelines of the Pan American Games Santiago 2023, a series of events shone a spotlight on some of the ambitious and far-reaching programmes in Latin America initiated under the umbrella of Olympism365 – the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s focused strategy to use and promote sport as an enabler for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The positive impact of sport and Olympism is being brought to young people and communities in Latin America through a range of partners in the region that the IOC is working with to deliver sport-based initiatives to increase young people’s access to quality education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, and to advance gender equality and inclusion.
IOC President stresses the important role of sport and the need for collective action
Among the initiatives featured were various projects within the Olympism365 Sport, Education and Livelihoods portfolio that use sport to strengthen the transferable skills of young people at risk of social exclusion, improving their prospects in education and/or employment.
On 21 October, an event co-organised by the IOC through Olympism365 and in collaboration with Panam Sports, portfolio lead Fundación SES and its local implementing entity ACHNU, demonstrated the concrete impact of this collective action, highlighting the transformative power of sport for sustainable development.
In Latin America, these ongoing community sports programmes are targeting 50,000 young people across 15 countries until 2025. Additionally, the training of 6,000 practitioners, teachers, youth workers and policy officials focuses on raising awareness and building capacity on sport, education and livelihood. This builds on the 1,200 Community of Practice members already engaged in 2023, the over 9,000 young people reached to date through community sports programmes, and the more than 680 professionals now trained in using sport as a tool for social transformation.
Attending the event, IOC President Thomas Bach further underlined the contribution of sport to achieving the SDGs, and the importance of this collaborative approach.
“Sport is much more than a goal in itself – it is a tool to achieve so many other goals,” said President Bach in his address to the gathering.
“And none of these goals can be attained by only one entity. In this, the Olympic motto is more relevant than ever: we can only achieve the SDGs faster, we can only aim higherwith our contribution to reach these goals and we can only become stronger in this worldwide community that is striving to achieve these goals if we are standing together. Thank you for standing together and keep going strong.”
Alongside President Bach, a broad range of partners from the Olympic Movement, government, regional development organisations and civil society attended the event, including: Jaime Pizarri, the Chilean Sports Minister; Neven Ilic and Jimena Saldaña the Panam Sports President and Secretary General; representatives from 25 NOCs; and delegates from UN Women, the Latin American Development Bank (CAF), the Ibero-American Sports Council and the Organization of Ibero-American States.
Olympism365 delivery entities from eight countries were also in attendance, including Forge Foundation, which is active across Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, and Demà Jovem by Renapsi, which delivers sport for development programmes to young people across Brazil. These organisations and others are joining forces, building on their respective areas of expertise, so that thousands of young people across the region can use sport to strengthen the skills and competencies they need to be better prepared for the future.
Fundación SES – Solidarity, Education and Sustainability, a non-profit organisation that specialises in programmes that promote social, educational, economic and civic inclusion among young people across Latin America – is leading the delivery of Olympism365’s Sport, Education and Livelihoods portfolio in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We know that sport is a transformative tool that enables the active participation of young people, promotes their development and enables us to move towards fairer, more inclusive societies,” said Alejandra Solla, President of Fundación SES. “Our challenge is to work with states, international organisations, universities and sporting bodies to reach 50,000 young people in our region.”
Innovative financing models for inclusion through sport
The city of Santiago, Chile, is the focus for another new pilot project, entitled Trampolín, which the IOC is supporting through Olympism365. The initiative is designed to improve social inclusion for people living with disabilities in the city, and to enhance gender inclusivity by supporting girls and women to feel safe in sports opportunities made available to them. This new project is being delivered in partnership with CAF, UNESCO and the Chilean Ministry of Sport.
The innovative project was presented during a side event held in the Pan American Village on 22 October 2023 that featured a panel discussion on the relevance of new innovative financing models to increase government investment in sport. The event was held in the presence of the Chilean Sports Minister; the Assistant Director-General of UNESCO; the Vice-Sports Minister of Ecuador; and the Director of the implementing partner, the Metropolitan University in Science and Education in Santiago.
Cross-regional knowledge sharing and capacity building
As part of the Gender Equality though Sport Bridging Project, a partnership between UN Women and the IOC through Olympism365, on 23 October 2023 in Santiago, UN Women held a dialogue with representatives of governments, sports organisations, athletes and civil society to promote strategies to prevent violence and discrimination against girls and women in – and through – sport.
The event featured three panels, debating topics such as: gender equality in the sports ecosystem in Latin America and the world; the prevention and elimination of violence and discrimination against women and girls in the sports chain; the power of sport to foster positive social norms; and the importance of the media and communication promoting sports coverage that is free of stereotypes and respectful of women athletes.
Olympism365: Leveraging sport and Olympism for sustainable development
The IOC’s Olympism365 strategy is a direct response to Recommendation 10 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, which calls on the Olympic Movement to strengthen the role of sport as an important enabler for the UN SDGs. Approved by the IOC Executive Board in October 2021, the strategy is built on partnerships between the IOC and a variety of stakeholders, including Worldwide Olympic Partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government departments, development banks, UN and development agencies, and programme delivery organisations.
Olympism365 priority areas reflect the positive role that sport and Olympism can play in society for the SDGs by helping to create healthier and more active communities, more equitable, sustainable safer and inclusive communities, peacebuilding, and education and livelihoods.