Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Government of Canada Announces Funding for Right To Play

April 22, 2010

OTTAWA—The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced that the Government of Canada will make a contribution to Right To Play, an international organization based in Toronto. Funds from this initiative will use sport and play to promote basic education, essential health awareness, and disease prevention to children and youth living in disadvantaged areas in Benin, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, and Liberia.

Minister Oda made the announcement of $17 million in funding to Right To Play over three years following an informal meeting with Right to Play President and CEO, Johann Olav Koss, and Right to Play Canadian Athlete Ambassadors visiting Ottawa for the day.

"Canada recognizes the value of sport and play as a vehicle for human development and as a tool for achieving health, education, and conflict resolution-related goals," said Minister Oda. "Too many children in developing countries have lost their childhood and the opportunity to learn through play and sports as they struggle with the challenges of poverty. The Government of Canada is committed to improving the lives of children and youth around the world, and we are proud to support this unique approach to improving their lives."

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to be here today to thank Minister Oda and CIDA for this significant contribution which will enable Right To Play to continue to reach children and youth in Western and Francophone Africa," said Mr. Koss. "We are thrilled to be strengthening our relationship with CIDA and thank them for recognizing the importance of sport and play in the development of children and youth."

Right To Play is a humanitarian organization aiming to improve the lives of children and youth in developing countries by using the power of sport and play, with the engagement of Canadian and international athletes serving as role models. Today's funding announcement will enable Right To Play to strengthen its existing sport and play activities and achieve development results in all five African countries. The program is expected to reach more than 200,000 children and youth, 2,500 teachers and 4,500 coaches.

Right To Play's innovative model contributes directly to Canada's renewed commitment to improving children and youth's health and strengthening basic education in developing countries.

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Information:

Jessica Fletcher
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca