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UNV hosts sports camp to gain Sri Lankan youth support for MDGs

02 March 2006

Colombo, Sri Lanka: Youth from different communities and backgrounds in Sri Lanka are taking part in a three-day sports camp this week to boost awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and foster cultural dialogue.

Backed by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme-led sports camp will run from March 3 to 5.

More than 500 young people, aged between 14 and 29 and representing Singhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher communities as well as expatriate families, will participate in activities promoting the MDGs and volunteerism in Sri Lanka. A number of workshops are being organized to increase their understanding of the MDGs and their role in realizing the eight Goals by 2015. Sessions will also focus on the socio-economic effects of the 2004 tsunami and the rebuilding that is taking shape in Sri Lanka. The camp is expected to increase youth involvement in the MDGs and their awareness of the country’s development priorities.

“The young participants will hopefully realize the powerful universality of volunteerism and sport to bring about peace, understanding, tolerance and unity,” says the UNV Programme Officer for Sri Lanka, and the camp’s coordinator, Okama Ekpe Brook. “This awareness will mobilize people to act – a crucial element to achieve the Goals in Sri Lanka.”

Several honouraries will attend the camp’s opening on Friday, including
Kingsley T. Wickramaratne, Governor of Southern Province, Abu Y.M. Selim, United Nations Development Programme Country Director and Saman Amarasinghe, chairman of the National Sports Council and National Awards Authority.

The camp is the second organized by UNV in Sri Lanka. The first development-themed sports camp was held in November 2004, which received strong support from young participants and development actors including the government.

“The main objective of this camp is to spur mutual understanding and dialogue on peace and development between youth from different communities in Sri Lanka,” says Ms. Ekpe Brook. “Sports and volunteerism are powerful tools that bring young people together to achieve the MDGs.”

Based in Bonn, Germany, UNV is the UN organization that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers. In 2004, more than 7,000 skilled and experienced professionals, 70 percent coming from developing countries, supported peace, relief and development initiatives in some 150 countries. It also engages thousands of other individuals in the work of the United Nations through www.onlinevolunteering.org, and manages the WorldVolunteerWeb, a global volunteering portal that serves as a knowledge resource base for campaigning, advocacy, information dissemination and networking.

For more information, contact:
Edward Mishaud, Communications Officer, UNV headquarters
Tel: + 49 (0) 228 815 2223; email: edward.mishaud@unvolunteers.org

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)