iLEAP educates youths on sport’s role in realising SDGs, hopes to see more initiatives in Malaysia

Conversations about the role of sport in achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not new. However, such talk remains alien in Malaysia.

And that was the very reason why the organisers of the just-concluded Inclusive Leadership Programme (iLEAP) held in Kuching, Sarawak, included a module about sport and SDGs, giving its young participants a glimpse of the power of sport in shaping the world.

“We invited mySDG Academy to speak about the role of SDGs in sport and they were extremely happy to help us out. The academy got two of its agents based in Sarawak to speak to our young participants and it was an enjoyable experience,” said Lee.

“I believe this was also a learning curve for the speakers as they are used to seeing the SDGs in the bigger picture, but not zeroing in on sport. The speakers managed to break it down and focused on sport while ensuring it was easily consumed by our young participants.

“They even had quizzes as well, so that the teenagers could relate to the subject better,” she added.

The six pillars that were shared during the programme were Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals). The participants were also given an overview of Malaysia’s Voluntary National Report 2021.

Held from May 27-29, the sixth programme attracted 26 young participants, aged between 13 and 18. The inclusive affair also saw the participation of several differently-abled youths. The first iLEAP was held in 2021, and the next programme is scheduled in Kuala Lumpur come December. Some participants return as mentors for the following sessions, to enhance their management and leadership skills.

Lee admitted more needed to be done beyond iLEAP to get the conversations going.

“We need to talk more about sport and SDGs, not just among youths, but at all levels. It can be worked on and we can improve it (the present situation),” she added.

The 8th Commonwealth Debate on Sport and Sustainable Development, held on March 26 in London, concluded that if the world was to stay on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, then artificial intelligence (AI) in sports can be harnessed and leveraged to meet those goals faster.

On May 28, Sport Ireland released a report mapping the contribution of the Irish National Sports Policy (NSP) to the SDGs. The policy aligns closely with 10 of the SDGs.

There are 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, along with 169 targets, and 237 unique indicators forming the framework for global development through to 2030.

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