International Sports Promotion of the Federal Foreign Office
It stands for fairness, tolerance and peaceful competition: International Sports Promotion of the Federal Foreign Office is a global success story and one example of how sport can build bridges across linguistic, political and cultural divides. In the past 50 years the Federal Foreign Office and its partners – including the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), the German Football Association (DFB), the German Athletics Federation (DLV) and the Sport University in Leipzig – have supported more than 1,400 sporting projects in 100 countries as part of its International Sports Promotion. The Federal Foreign Office has been providing increased impetus to the global promotion of sport under the motto „On the Move – Overcoming Borders“. It aims to utilize the positive effects of sport to reduce prejudices, strengthen minorities and thus also contribute to international understanding. As an instrument of peace policy, many sports projects actively support conflict prevention and conflict resolution in the world. Every year roughly 50 short-term projects in over 30 countries are supported. Additionally, there are long-term projects in several countries that run for two to four years. One example is Afghanistan: German football experts Holger Obermann, Ali Askar Lali and Klaus Stärk supported the reconstruction of the Afghanistan Football Federation from 2002/2003 to 2009. In addition to the football projects for young people and men, which were backed by the German Football Association (DFB), the German team of experts also advanced the development of women’s football in the Hindu Kush.
Overall, German sports promotion covers very different disciplines in both amateur and professional sport. It also addresses specific target groups such as young people, women and the disabled. In 2009, in Guinea, West Africa, for example, the DOSB helped disabled athletes procure new wheelchairs for wheelchair basketball. A majority of the projects involve training and advanced training for coaches and athletes. Then there are projects that support the development and expansion of organizational structures or sporting venues. The fight against doping and violence in everyday life also plays a role, as examples in India and Honduras demonstrate. In New Delhi, for example, German sport scientists assisted in training staff at a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited anti-doping laboratory. In Central America, an advanced training course for football coaches and a training course in sport science had a clear goal: using sport as a means of preventing violence and aggression. In Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Namibia children are being playfully introduced to athletics in the Mini-Atletismo/Kid’s Athletics project. In this programme mixed teams of boys and girls compete against each other in the disciplines of sprinting, endurance running, jumping and throwing. The girls and boys jump over brightly coloured boxes, run through a course of painted tyres and demonstrate their sporting ability by throwing coloured rods at the sports stadium. These lively competitions focus on team spirit and fairness – and involve a readiness to engage in creative improvisation: German sport experts who are involved in building sustainable athletics structures in developing countries and have contributed to the development of the project often put together the necessary sporting equipment with their local colleagues on the spot. Old tyres, banana boxes and bottles are transformed into colourful sporting apparatus with a lot of paint and ingenuity.
For several years, a key area of the Federal Foreign Office’s sports promotion has been the continent of Africa, which is where roughly 70% of the funds go. Africa is also where an especially large number of long-term projects are running under the management of German sport instructors – in Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania. However, cooperation with German sporting experts is very popular not only in Africa, but all over the world. Requests for projects are often sent directly to German embassies abroad from the countries themselves, before they can be forwarded to the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and discussed with the DOSB. The department for sports cooperation at the DOSB in Frankfurt am Main coordinates global deployments of the sporting „ambassadors“ – and maintains close contact with the German coaches and trainers who travel the world as sports development workers by arrangement with their respective sports associations.
German-Ugandan Sports Cooperation
Germany and Uganda have a longstanding cooperation in the field of sports. Germany has been supporting Ugandan sports actively for more than four decades with 2 long term and over 30 short term projects as well as numerous donations of sport material and equipment for local sport clubs and over 50 schools.
In close cooperation with the German Football Association (DFB), the German Athletics Federation (DLV) and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), the Federal Foreign Office seconds German sports experts to carry out training courses and hold training sessions. From 2009 until mid of 2013, Mr. Günter Lange, who was seconded to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) as a German Sports Development Expert, assisted in capacity building at grass root level (schools, universities) as well as supported Uganda’s top athletes.
Since the 1980s, the Federal Foreign Office, in cooperation with the Universities in Leipzig and Mainz, invite sports coaches to attend certified training courses in Germany. The programme aims at skills enhancement for Ugandan multipliers and in total, more than 25 scholarships have been granted so far.
Germany further provides equipment needed to improve the working conditions for athletes and coaches. One of various donations made was an electronic time measurement system worth 62 Million Uganda Shillings that was handed over to the Uganda Athletic Federation (UAF) in 2011. As new rules call for all sprints qualifications to be recorded by electronic timers only and all jumping events / sprinting performance have to be wind-controlled, Ugandan athletes so far had to travel outside the country to access the required equipment. Now the electronic timing and the wind measurement can be used at all national trials, allowing Ugandan athletes to qualify for international events from within the country or setting nationally or internationally recognized records on their home turf.
In the following year, 3 sophisticated time measurement systems in support of the Primary Schools National Athletics Championships in Uganda were donated to the Minstry of Education and Sports. The equipment provides technical support to measure the running speed of U12 and U14 children during the yearly National School Championships for Primary Schools.
To continue and deepen this fruitful partnership and to improve the organizational capacity of Ugandan sports, high-ranking officials within the field of sports participated in a study tour to Germany in 2013 which was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. The delegation visited on-site sport structures and gathered information that will assist the national sports associations in creating modern sports structures.