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Grom Nation x UNESCO, A future of sport

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*Written *by Maggie O’Shea, Gender and Diversity Advisor for Grom Nation

Grom Nation celebrated the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace by organising two major sporting events last 6th of April. As we are a partnered organisation with UNESCO’s youth and sports taskforce, these sporting events were held to highlight and emphasise the positive impact that sport can have on the community.

According to a UN Research, sport participation is a powerful tool for promoting ideals such as peace, equality, fraternity and tolerance etc. As an organisation mentoring children and youth in Siargao Island, we have personally witnessed sport bring out leadership qualities in our kids and youth. Through sport kids have demonstrated respect for themselves and others, as well as improving their communication skills. Plus, sport has had a positive impact on their mental and physical well-being.

Therefore, we took fifty excited groms to the grand stand in Dapa for a day of athletics and inspiration. We attended a Frisbee tournament followed by our own sport inspired activities. We were joined by three experienced volunteers – Sam (American) a sports and fitness coach and youth mentor, Joanna (American) a social worker, and Izzy (Australian) a nurse.

As part of our life-knowledge mentorship program, our volunteers shared their knowledge on the benefits of sports and play in our community. Sam spoke to the group on increasing mental and physical health through sport, as well as learning life skills. These skills include team work, perseverance, adherence to rules, and overcoming adversity; plus sport gives us a healthy outlet for anger, anxiety or frustration.

The kids experienced this first hand as they learned the fundamentals and rules of ultimate Frisbee. As the kids were separated into teams, we observed the power of sport bringing a community together and the fun and energetic atmosphere it can inspire. As skills improved, we found we had a competitive group on our hands!

The skills that we learn through sport participation help us to develop habits that will equip us far beyond the playing field. Sam passionately reminded us that sport is a human right and that all kids should have access to, and the right to play sport. We all win when everybody plays, both girls and boys. Following Sam’s talk, Joanna our social worker spoke about gender stereotypes in sport and life, and how comments like ‘you kick like a girl’ are creating a negative gender stereotype that affects how girls are perceived in sport. It’s important for the future generation to know and be reminded that they’re all capable of achieving amazing things, and gender stereotyping is a huge factor in girls dropping out of sports early.

In honour of the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace, our day of sport, play and fun was a way to remind the kids that sport has the power to change the world, sport has the power to inspire, and sport has the power to unite us and bring hope to all those involved.

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