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AUSC Region 5 Declares April to be the Month of Sport for Development and Peace

The milestone decision by the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) has been announced in favour of promoting peaceful and more inclusive societies.

AUSC Region 5 dedicated the month of April as the month of Sport for Development and Peace. This milestone decision was made to heighten attention towards commemoration of the power of sport to promote peaceful and inclusive societies in support of the United Nations which declared the 6th of April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace IDSDP). This year’s United Nations IDSDP theme was “Promoting Sport for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies”.

As part of the activities to commemorate IDSDP, Region 5 had several activities which included radio and television interviews. In addition, and to cap the month-long commemoration, Region 5 hosted a Sport for Development Stakeholders Workshop on Saturday 20 April 2024 at the University of Botswana. The theme for this year’s Stakeholders workshop was, “Towards a more peaceful and inclusive Region: What Role Can Sport Play?”

The workshop was held to unpack how key stakeholders could effectively use sport to drive social change, community development and to foster peace and understanding within societies.

According to the UN, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace presents an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the world.

AUSC Region 5 recognises the power of sport to positively transform societies. Region 5 further recognises and promotes sport as a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties, sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all. The 2024 stakeholders workshop was therefore hosted to create dialogue around ways of effectively using sport as a tool for social development and cohesion.

The workshop was officially opened by the Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) in the Botswana Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture (MYGSC), Mr Tshepo Maphuting on behalf of the Permanent Secretary. Mr Maphuting commended the efforts by Region 5 towards seeking collective interventions to foster sustainable peace and development through sport in the region. He placed emphasis on the need for the Region to galvanise its efforts towards creating a better society for future generations.

Speaking at the same workshop, Region 5 CEO, Mr Staney Mutoya challenged stakeholders and Member Countries to do more in the use of sport as a solution to African challenges. He noted that peace in the Region 5 context was not the absence of guns and gunfire, but heightened poverty, unemployment, drug and substance abuse, youth delinquency, climate change, gender inequality and non-accidental aggression all of which had placed serious threat to the peace and harmony and economic development of the region.

The hybrid workshop was attended by over 30 sport administrators, students and athletes drawn from Government ministries, Region 5 Member Countries, The Association of International Sport For All (TAFISA), Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), Women and Sport Botswana (WASBO), Regional

Confederations, National Federations and University of Botswana. Presenters included Mr Allan Williams, Executive Director at the Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) and Stanley Mutoya, Region 5 CEO.

One of the activities held during the workshop was a panel discussion on the role of stakeholders in promoting sport for a peaceful and inclusive Region. The panellists included Ms Keenese Katisenge-Tizhani, TAFISA Vice President Africa, Region 5 CEO, Stanley Mutoya and Allan Williams, Executive Director at SSCN. Others included the Region 5 Sport for People with Disability (SPWD) Committee Chairperson, James Chiutsi, University of Botswana Senior Lecturer, Prof Tshepang Tshube and Dineo Mogapi from BNOC.

Proceeding the panel discussion, the audience was given an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Impressively, the reactions from the participants added value to the workshop and addressed some of the challenges the Region continues to encounter in the sport for development sector.

The workshop ended on a high note with plenary discussion during which participants openly discussed key interventions and risks to effective implementation of sport for development programmes.

Earlier in the Month, the Region commenced the commemoration of IDSDP by issuing a statement through the CEO which was delivered through the official Facebook page. Further, the CEO appeared for a TV interview on Botswana Television where he outlined the Region’s sport for development programmes and interventions.

Throughout the month of April, the Region ran posts on social media aimed at creating awareness around the need to promote peace and inclusion across the region and beyond.

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