The New Times (Kigali)

24 November 2012

Rwanda: We Can Turn Rwanda Into an Active and Winning Nation

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To work towards turning Rwanda into an active nation, the Ministry of Sports should put focus on key strategic areas to assist with broadening the base of sport.

The key areas include; sport promotion, recreation, clubs, grassroots support and mass participation respectively.

In order to have constructive and benefit based recreation there is a need to rationalise and have one governance model of recreation in Rwanda.

This means that we have to create various recreation associations and ensure that they are well coordinated and structured in delivering recreation.

The Ministry of Sports, Provincial governing bodies and the local government should be able to execute this task. If this task is well executed, then we will have well resourced recreation structures and a national coordinated recreation infrastructure.

Increased participation and the development of sport will not be possible if there is not a strong foundation of grassroots sport structures in place. [Modified sport for all ages; mini-leagues, etc.]

This can be achieved if we work in close cooperation with NFs in ensuring a vibrant modified sport system. Focus should also be put on grassroots sports programmes predominately in the rural areas.

Then for the country to have a Modified sports implementation plan, the Ministry of Sports should work closely with national sports federations to achieve this feat.

A network of club structures integrated into provincial and national sport structures spanning urban and rural areas across the country form the basis of sports provision in any sport system.

Sports provision, development and excellence will not be possible if there is not a strong foundation of club structures in place.

What is needed is the promotion and support club development, supporting the formation or revitalisation of clubs and leagues at a local level in conjunction with NFs by introducing programmes and procuring sports equipment and attire.

The Ministry of Sports should work with national federations to have an integrated and sustainable club structure.

To maintain an interest in participating in sport, creative opportunities need to be available to diverse segments of the population. This means that we should Support mass participation projects that provide opportunities to engage in physical activity.

This is why Ministry of Sports, Provincial governing bodies and national federations should come up with participation initiatives such as participation in sport such as: Indigenous games, walks, Cycle-Walk-to-school initiative.

The diversity of our population necessitates the development of creative sports delivery programmes tailored to meet the needs of the community targeted.

A more dedicated effort is required from the corporate sector to understand and appreciate the economic benefits of an active and healthier workforce.

Sport and recreation ought to be harnessed to add value to the workplace as a large portion time is spent at work. Sport and recreation can contribute to lowering tension, fatigue and general anxiety in the workplace as well as increasing productivity.

This can be ensured by assessing the impact of participation initiatives adopted by the corporate sector (incl. NGOs) and establish partnerships where feasible.

Implement sport and recreation promotion initiatives to targeted groups, set the example of an active workforce, use sport and recreation as a medium to deliver important social messages, foster and support various private sector sport and recreation initiatives, advocate for the compulsory implementation of physical education in all schools.

It is the task of the Ministry of Sports, corporate sector, Provincial governing bodies and all government departments to establish partnerships, corporate leagues, extend 'Football Friday' to 'Active Friday", media campaign, government sports leagues in selected sport codes, themed projects such as HIV/AIDS awareness programmes such as heroes walk, private sector and recreation initiatives such as let's play; mega participation events and have an action plan.

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