|Malawi project provides Olympic chance |
Sports international development work has paid dividends for one athlete
in Malawi. Kondwani Chiwina, an 800m runner, will be one of only two
athletes representing his country at the Olympic Games having received
help from John Woodcock, an athletics coach working in Malawi as part of a
UK Sport/VSO sports development programme.
Olympic stadium where Chiwina will
Woodcock, who has taken
two years off from his job as an athletics development officer in
Bradford, has been working with Chiwina since last November during which
time the runner has knocked five seconds off his personal best in order to
qualify for the Games. He is in Malawi as part of a programme set up last
year to help tackle the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa.
"In Malawi, children are sports mad and will compete if they are
given the chance. So sport provides a natural way to introduce HIV and
AIDS education," said Woodcock.
Running from 2003 to 2006, the
programme is targeting the 54% of children in Malawi who do not attend
school and are most susceptible to infection due to a lack of information
and support. The aim is to raise awareness of the disease in the 15-25 age
group by integrating HIV/AIDS education into sport.
UK Sport has
awarded £80,000 over four years in support of the programme. John Scott,
Director of International Relations and Major Events at UK Sport, said:
"UK Sport has had a long and productive relationship with VSO and we hope
this new initiative in Malawi will play a key role in raising awareness of
HIV and AIDS in the region.
"Sport is a powerful tool that can be
used to stimulate development, particularly among the young. UK Sport is
currently involved with a number of projects around the world to benefit
countries less fortunate than us. We have long recognised the impact that
VSO volunteers have at community level in effecting change, and we are
delighted that this new programme is having similar results."
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