UNESCO and IFMA discuss youth and sport.  Image Lord K2 for IFMA

Social projects set up by IFMA and supported by UNESCO are key for supporting youth in disadvantaged areas, a meeting heard during the IFMA World Championships.

IFMA and UNESCO have been working together on further boosting IFMA’s strong commitment to social projects. The main focus  is the Sport Is Your Gang project. This is already running in a number of countries but one exciting new development is in the Latin American region.

Dr Sue Vizer from UNESCO Asia-Pacific said this partnership means UNESCO is there to support IFMA by doing research and sharing expertise to help the federations find areas where social responsibility can be developed.
She advised the areas IFMA could focus on are sports in schools, further promoting girls and women to do muaythai, working with people living with disabilities and increasing the reach of existing projects like those in Poland, and working to support people in disadvantaged areas to access muaythai.
A goal was set to measure the impact of existing Sport Is Your Gang projects so governments can see the benefits to the local communities. Federation heads from Peru and The Philippines said this would help them in approaching their governments for funding to run similar programmes or expand on their existing projects.
Dr Vizier said this could be done by using projects in Peru and Mexico as case studies to obtain detailed data, and examine the feasibility of extending these to other areas.

The meeting – attended by Federation heads as well as IFMA general secretary Stephan Fox and Sport Director Charissa Tynan – also discussed ways in which the IFMA education programme for athletes can be improved.

Anti-doping projects were another focus, with IFMA aiming to keep muaythai a clean sport even as they continue to expand.

An agreement was also made for representatives from five countries one on each continent to work on creating Youth Surveys to identify gaps and strengths at grass-roots level and to discuss this information at the Youth World Championships in August.