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The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA) has officially announced its plans for the annual International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) at a press conference this morning at its BOA Headquarters in Wildey.
The BOA, the Barbados Lottery, UNICEF and the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, as well as 16 local community teams, have come together to host a multi-sport youth rally event including basketball, dominoes, football, netball, and road tennis.
This year, the day will be celebrated with three events. On April 6, a Youth Outreach Educational Workshop will be held at BOA Headquarters, followed by a Community Leaders’ Conference on April 7. The IDSDP main event, a Multi-Sports Youth Rally is to be held on Sunday, April 8 at Blenheim Playing Field, Ivy, St. Michael from 9.00am onwards and is intended to highlight the role of sport to promote community development and cohesion.
Representatives from the BOA, the Barbados Lottery, UNICEF and the U.S. Embassy and representative of the community leaders, Hamilton Lashley all spoke about the significance of IDSDP, the event program, and the value of sports to foster peace and development within communities.
Director of the BOA Academy, Dave Farmer thanked the Barbados Lottery, the U.S. Embassy, UNICEF, National Anti-doping Commission, and the 16 community leaders and their teams for participating in such an important event. “The planned activities focus directly and indirectly on reducing and resolving social issues which plague communities in Barbados, such as conflict management. At the same time, it is attempting to improve community cohesion and provide opportunities through sport for disadvantaged youth, women and persons who commonly face discrimination and marginalization,” he said.
The Barbados Lottery donated conference material packages to be used during the workshops and community leaders’ conference. Brand and Public Relations Manager, The Barbados Lottery, Kelly King expressed enthusiasm about the Lottery’s participation and sponsorship of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. “We will be contributing and participating by donating a few items that will add to the overall benefit of the workshops and participating at the workshops,” she said.
UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist Dr. Lisa McClean-Trotman also emphasised the important role sport plays in contributing towards the UN’s objectives for development and peace in the Caribbean. “Sport has this incredible power to bring communities together to bring people together. Whether it be on the playing field, in the swimming pool, gymnastics or the basketball arena, we think every space should be a safe space where children can live to adolescence, to reach their fullest potential, and sport has that potential.
Hamilton Lashley, who spoke on behalf of the local community groups, said, “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is very important. It is one that could encapsulate the entire world. If planned properly, this can be spread across the entire Caribbean so that, on this day across the region, everyone captures the spirit of development and peace. Sports, particularly soccer, causes that magnetic force to pull all the youth together.”
Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy, James Rodriguez, has donated 16 basketballs, 16 netballs, 16 soccer balls and 16 training bibs to the event on behalf of the Embassy to assist with the development of sport and unity in Barbados’ communities. “This is our second year participating in this program and we are very proud of our participation. It is an honour to be able to donate some sports equipment, and to just be able to participate in general. We understand sports, and we know that sports can push you in the correct direction, away from a life of violence and crime. So it really is something that we’re interested in doing,” he said at yesterday’s press conference.
The IDSDP is an annual celebration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development, and foster peace and understanding. It has been celebrated annually by the BOA since 2015. The IOC is supportive of this initiative, recognising the role of sports organisations to support social change and human development.
Featured Image: Representatives of the BOA, the Barbados Lottery, UNICEF and the U.S. Embassy with local community team representatives at the launch of this year’s IDSDP event.