Canada working with Right to Play to improve the health and education of children in the developing world

April 4, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Minister Paradis speaking to a group of high school students at an event hosted by Right To Play in celebration of the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, emphasized Canada’s commitment to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and youth in developing countries and promote peace around the world through sport and play.

“I have seen first-hand the positive impact that sport and play can have on children, regardless of their circumstances,” said Minister Paradis. “Sport builds self-confidence. It defies stereotypes, and it can foster hope for a better future. Canada will continue working with partners such as Right To Play to ensure children around the world can learn, earn and achieve success for themselves, their communities and their countries.”

Minister Paradis announced today that Canada will be partnering with Right To Play to advance development and peace in Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Rwanda through sport and play. The Advancing Health, Education and Development for Children and Youth (AHEAD) project will assist more than 235,000 children and youth in acquiring important life skills and health knowledge in safe and secure learning environments.

“Canada has been one of our most steadfast supporters over the past 12 years, and this commitment is a testament not only to our work as a development organization, but to the tremendous impact that can be made when governments and civil society work together to achieve common goals,” said Johann Koss, Right To Play’s Chief Executive Officer and President. “Together we will continue to enhance education, transform lives and build brighter futures for young people and their communities around the world through play.”

Quick Facts

  • Right To Play is an international organization that uses the transformative power of sport and play to educate and empower children and youth facing adversity in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
  • From 2007 to 2013, the DFATD-funded Play to Learn project ($19.9 million) enabled more than 214,000 at-risk children and youth in West and Francophone Africa to participate in weekly sport and play activities in which they learned important leadership and life skills such as self-confidence, cooperation and self-discipline. They also improved their education and health.
  • In January 2014, Canada announced support for the Learning, Empowerment and Play project in Jordan ($5 million, 2014–2017) to provide educational support to Syrian child refugees and Jordanian children to increase their participation in leadership roles within school and community settings, and rehabilitate classrooms, sanitation facilities, and play spaces. In addition, more than 1,500 teachers and coaches were trained to use the sport-and-development approach.
  • On August 23, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in recognition of the positive influence sport can have in building peace and contributing to the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.

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