Sport In Action (SIA) wishes to urge all political parties contesting the 2021 General Elections to increase their willingness and commitment to safeguarding the lives of young people in their campaign messages.
While there have been many ambitious and well-intentioned manifestos across the political parties involved in this year’s elections, we are saddened to note that very little is being said about how the parties and their leaders will act to promote Physical Education, Sport and Recreation.
As a sport-for-development organization, we have noted that many young people are involved in negatives vices largely due to their daily struggles to access recreational facilities which are almost non-existent.
In the lead up to next month’s general elections, we expect political parties to ensure that they put into practice the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and particularly Article 31 which states;
- State Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
- State Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
The above article is just but one of the 54 articles which governments must uphold and ensure are actualized at all costs to ensure that every child enjoys their rights as enshrined in the UNCRC, especially that through recreational activities, young people will certainly feel good about themselves and will in turn operate more effectively and productively in their schools and community setups.
As a Nation we are also presented with another opportunity, where through Physical Education and Sport, young people will be taught on the importance of trust, appropriate risk taking, supportive social interaction and personal challenge while creating valuable life long memories in their lives.
Further, we are assured of reduced crime rates through the provision of safe spaces for children to play from while being kept busy in meaningful developmental social skills and problem-solving skills through various activities on offer – this is definitely an opportunity that political parties should jump on.
In conclusion, we wish to state that SIA will continue to advocate for better access to recreational facilities and child and play activities on young people’s behalf in order for them to live better and positive lives in a supportive environment, free from the challenges that they currently face.