Ministerial Webinar on the Safeguarding and Promotion of Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) in Africa was held from 15 June 2021 till 17 June 2021 and was jointly organized by the African Traditional Sports and Games Confederation (ATSGC) and UNESCO Multi-sectoral Regional Offices for Western Africa in Abuja and Eastern Africa in Nairobi.
The webinar was aimed to gather Sports Ministers and Professional Heads of Sports Ministries in Africa to discuss and follow-up on commitments that have been made towards the safeguarding and promotion of traditional sports and games, as well as to develop a roadmap for the official inclusion of African traditional sports and games in the All African Games program.
The webinar was held in Virtual Format and was opened by a speech from Mrs. Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General, Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO who welcomed all the participants and highlighted UNESCO's work for the promotion of traditional sports and games and told that Africa is one of the most important stakeholder not only in traditional sports and games but also due to its extensive culture. She also appreciated the work done by the International Council of Traditional Sports and Games (ICTSG) and its President Mr. Khalil Ahmed Khan.
The President of the International Council of Traditional Sports and Games Mr. Khalil Ahmed Khan also welcomed all the participants and congratulated the organizers including ATSGC and UNESCO for successful organization of the Webinar in the time of global pandemic. Mr. Khan explained the background of the establishment of ATSGC to all the participants and applauded the efforts of Mr. Shammi Rana, Secretary General of the International Council of Traditional Sports and Games for his fruitful visit to Africa leading to the creation of ATSGC Secretariat in Sierra Leone. Mr. Khan explained the definition of traditional sports and games and informed the participants about the actions and projects initiated by the ICTSG to develop and revive TSG. The President also appreciated Mr. Yahya Al Matarr Jobe, President and Mr. Michael Shamsu Mustapha Secretary of the ATSGC. He also stressed at the point that the enriching culture and heritage of the African continent is unprecentedly unique which makes Africa a major stakeholder in TSG. Mr. Khan then thanked Mrs. Gabriela Ramos, ADG SHS UNESCO for her support to the cause of safeguarding and promotion of traditional sports and games and also thanked Mrs. Angela Melo - Director, Mr. Marcellin Dally - Secretary Antidoping Convention and Mr. Jonathan Lorcher-beaudran at the UNESCO Secretariat for their hard work and devotion to promote TSG. Lastly, Mr. Khan reiterated that the future belongs to traditional sports and games and very soon everyone will witness the promotion of traditional sports and games to an unparalleled extent.
The webinar was also attended by Mrs. Rosa Rakotozafi of Madagascar who is also the Chair of CIGEPS (The Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport). She informed the participants about the role of CIGEPS and was also representing the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Madagascar. Mr. Valerio de Divitiis from the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) was also present in the Webinar and made a speech on behalf of Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, the Under-Secretary General of UNOCT. Representatives of the African Union Sports Council and ECOWAS also participated in the webinar.
Mr. Yahya Al Matarr Jobe, President of the African Traditional Sports and Games Confederation (ATSGC) also welcomed all the participants to the webinar. He started by explaining the significance and need for promotion of TSG in Africa. He said that such traditional sports belong to us and our culture, they are our own sports hence we should safeguard and promote the TSG so that our future generations stay close to the original African culture. Mr. Jobe also thanked his colleagues at UNESCO Regional Office and UNESCO Secretariat for their continued support towards the mission of development of TSG. He informed the participants about the progress currently achieved by the ATSGC and he said that by 2025 it is expected that all African Member States will join the ATSGC by establishing their national TSG organizations. He also thanked the International Council of Traditional Sports and Games for its extraordinary support and effort towards the cause of reviving such traditional and indigenous games.
The webinar continued for three days and discussions were held on different topics including but not limited to TSG as lever for peace and sustainable development in Africa, challenges and opportunities for safeguarding and promoting TSG in Africa, TSG and promotion of quality physical education, designing a roadmap for leveraging on TSG as a catalyst for economic growth and development and many fruitful discussions took place between the participants. The session was also streamed live at social media platforms which increased public interaction and awareness.