November 20, 2007 14:17 ET

The Government of Canada Supports Sport and Play for Young People in Developing Countries

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2007) - On the occasion of Universal Children's Day, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced the Government of Canada's support of $2.9 million to the organization Right To Play for an innovative initiative that will bring the power of sport and play to children in Ghana, Benin, Mali and Rwanda.

"On Universal Children's Day, I am pleased to announce our support to Right To Play's program that will help improve the lives of children in Africa", said Minister Oda. "This funding will help provide coaches, staff and volunteers with training, as well as sport equipment and education kits, allowing kids to receive a better basic education and to develop life skills such as leadership. Today's announcement is only one example of what our Government is doing to improve the health and education of children living in poverty.

"This multi-year funding from the Canadian International Development Agency ensures that Right To Play will be able to make a sustained and lasting impact in the lives of children living in Benin, Ghana, Mali and Rwanda," said Johann Koss, President and CEO of Right To Play. "I want to thank the Government of Canada for recognizing the crucial role of sport and play in basic education and development of children and in building stronger communities."

In developing countries, a significant number of children are excluded from formal and non-formal education because of religion, ability, gender, ethnicity or social background, as well as the stigma of HIV/AIDS. Children living in these conditions, when included in social activities through play and sport, become physically healthier, develop necessary life-skills and become integrated into their communities.

The Government of Canada is providing this funding to Right To Play through the Canadian International Development Agency over a period of three years. Right To Play is a non-profit organization aiming to improve the lives of children in the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace. It uses sports programs to lessen some of the negative effects of poverty, reach out to youth at risk and reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS by including them in social activities. These programs promote active civil society participation and enhance health and quality of life of children.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Veronique Bruneau
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534 (electronic version of document)