21 Mar 2016


The programme aims to inspire and enable young people around the world to play sport and transform their lives.

Location Worldwide
Organisation International Inspiration (IN)
Start-end date 2007 – ongoing
Target group age All children, young people, women and marginalised groups
Reach Over 15 million children from more than 20 countries
Partners London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), British Council, UNICEF, UK Sport, Youth Sport Trust and others
Key facts By 2014, over 15 million children from more than 20 countries will have actively participated in sport, physical education and play through International Inspiration.
For inspiration

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The International Inspiration Programme became the first legacy programme of its kind to be developed by an Olympic Games Organising Committee. Bringing together a unique coalition of delivery partners – the British Council and UNICEF with leadership by UK Sport – the original aim of the programme was to use London 2012 as a vehicle to reach 12 million children in 20 countries with quality sport and physical activity by 2012. By early 2014, the programme had surpassed this original target. As the individual projects within the initial programme come to a close, the International Inspiration Programme hands the torch over to IN to continue its work. The International Inspiration Programme helps develop young people to play their role in civil society, developing their leadership potential through sport and widening access to sustainable livelihoods. Through the programme, children and young people are benefitting from the improved delivery of Physical Education (PE) and sport lessons in school, as a consequence of the capacity building of teachers, school principles and youth leaders. This is designed to ensure not only that PE and sport is embedded within the school curriculum and practised more regularly in schools, but also that it proves more attractive and suitable for different groups of young people.


A three-level approach

International Inspiration works on three levels – with policy makers, sports practitioners and children and young people – in order to change the way countries are promoting the role of sport in the school curriculum and in the community. With international governments, International Inspiration aims to create long-lasting change to school curricula and national policies. On the sports practitioners level, the programme trains Young Sport Leaders (YSL), teachers and coaches in high-quality and inclusive PE and sports techniques. As a result, children and young people are benefitting from the improved delivery of PE and sports lessons in their schools. In addition, sports festivals are also organised and delivered by YSLs with the support of local sports tutors and teachers where participants take part in a range of inclusive sports (e.g. football, basketball, running), games (e.g. tug of war, musical chairs) and other cultural activities (such as traditional dance and painting).

Tailored programmes for each location

International Inspiration is characterised by its ability to adapt. The programme does not offer a quick-fix or “one size fits all” approach; rather its projects are designed to meet real needs in the most culturally sensitive and effective way, in partnership with key local stakeholders. Programmes range from teaching children in flood-prone areas of Bangladesh to swim, to raising awareness of HIV and AIDS for young people in Zambia and South Africa.



Provide equal access to sport

One of the main aims of the programme is to contribute to human and social development. Through sport, the programme aims to engage more children and young people in education; promote the rights, status and voice of women and girls in their communities; and provide opportunities for children with disabilities to join in social and sporting activities.

Improve public health and well-being

The programme uses sport as a tool to address health issues, working with people to raise awareness of a number of problems. This includes improving young people’s understanding of communicable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS and malaria, and providing access to counselling and medical services. Through sport, International Inspiration aims to inform, develop and implement child protection and safeguard policies and practices. Young people learn values such as teamwork, respect and fairness alongside life skills such as leadership, negotiation and communication. To improve long-term prospects for children, young people and marginalised groups, IN provides skills, information and opportunities for employability and enterprise.


The London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games was a huge driving force of and for the programme. It was marketed and promoted by LOCOG, UK Sport, the British Council, Unicef and governments worldwide. Currently, the programme is communicated through the International Inspiration website and on various social media platforms.


The programme has been extensively evaluated by an external third party. Conclusions from an interim-evaluation are very promising and show that children and young people who participated in the programme are more engaged during sports activities, and have improved social cohesion and school attendance. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that young people are now feeling more empowered and as a result are applying their improved leadership skills and enhanced sense of responsibility to other areas of their lives.

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