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Australian Sports Outreach Program touches down in India


Australian Minister for Sport Senator the Hon. Mark Arbib recently launched the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP), which promotes grassroots sport-based development, in India against the backdrop of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. ASOP India is an Australian Government initiative implemented by the Australian Sports Commission and involves a $5 million commitment over five years. The program will contribute to national development priorities specifically targeting disadvantaged community groups and people with disability. Senator Arbib said ASOP India will use sport as a means to promote education and other development goals while fostering both sporting and life skills in marginalised children and youth. 'Sport for development provides an exciting new avenue to strengthen people-to-people collaboration and relationships between Australia and India,' Senator Arbib said. ASOP India is designed around three core strategies:
  • communicate – design and implement advocacy, social mobilisation and behavioural change strategies to encourage and promote quality sport for all
  • connect – create opportunities for sport-for-development organisations to share resources and knowledge that will assist in achieving program goals and objectives
  • collaborate – support India-based organisations to achieve specific objectives that contribute to the larger ASOP goal through access to resources, technical know-how and funding support. 
Key program objectives are to:
  • facilitate inclusive participation of disadvantaged communities in quality sport
  • use sport as a means to promote education and other life skills
  • facilitate inclusion and gender sensitivity and improve the lives of marginalised individuals through sport
  • facilitate youth access to livelihoods connected with or through sport.
ASOP India coordinator Vivek Ramchandani said the program will open a new chapter in sports diplomacy and forge enduring links with the Indian people, non-government organisation partners and beneficiary communities. 'The program is designed to increase the capacity of stakeholders to conduct inclusive, high-quality, grassroots sports programs,' Mr Ramchandani said. ASOP India will be implemented through five selected agencies: Magic Bus, Special Olympics Bharat, Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India), Goa Football Association and Naz Foundation (India) Trust. Australian sporting organisations (Surf Life Saving Australia, Football Federation Australia and Netball Australia) will partner with the corresponding Indian agencies to ensure the provision of technical advice and support until 2014. The ASOP program will operate in several locations and address cross-sectoral development issues, including:
  • primary school sport and physical education
  • disability sport
  • netball for the empowerment of adolescent girls and the prevention of HIV/AIDS
  • holistic child development through grassroots junior football and coach mentoring
  • teaching swimming and lifesaving for personal safety and youth livelihoods
  • income generation through sport. 
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