Mount Kenya University (MKU) recently joined the world in marking International Day of Sports for Peace and Development in an African region webinar.
The online meeting was organized by MKU’s Unesco chair for Digital Education, Interdisciplinary Teaching and Sustainable Development in collaboration with Kenya National Commission for Unesco, The African Sports Association (ASMA) and TV47.
The theme for this year’s event held on April 6 was upholding sports and physical activity for peace and development under Covid-19 lockdown and beyond.
“When we run, we can make this world a beautiful place. We can kick away many of the diseases by just running,” marathoner Eliud Kipchoge said after he ran a marathon distance in under two hours in 2019.
Two years later, his words appear to have gained more relevance the world over, following a period of unprecedented challenges that the human race has had to cope with following the outbreak of Covid-19.
People are increasingly turning to sport to stay mentally and physically in shape.
“There is no more powerful platform than sport to nurture the values we all share of solidarity, responsibility respect, honesty, teamwork, equality and self-esteem,” said MKU in a statement on the importance of sport, quoting the words of Irina Bokova, the former Director General of Unesco.
“We hope to encourage Kenyans and all persons across the world who are experiencing a lockdown or any cessation of movement to participate in unrestricted sporting activities,” said the university’s Pro-Chancellor, Dr Vincent Gaitho who read out the communique on behalf of the partners in 2020.
This year’s festivities have been largely affected by Covid-19 pandemic. “For two consecutive years, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace has been marked worldwide under a lockdown, cessation of movements and curfews as well as various guidelines meant to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including a ban on sports activities,” said Dr Gaitho, who was the Chief Guest during the Webinar presentations to mark the International Sports day at MKU.
He added; “This has led to considerable decline of gains made over the years at national, regional and international levels toward reduction of sedentary lifestyles let us remember our individual capacity for physical activity participation is not on lock-down’’.
Many sporting activities especially those of communal nature are among those that are highly discouraged to curb spread of the pandemic.
Thus, the sports and recreation facilities such as gymnasia and sports clubs are closed while sport activities in Kenya have been brought to a stop as a containment measure on the spread of Corona infections.
“However, though we may not go to the gyms or sports clubs but we can jog, take brisk walks, engage on physical exercises within the comfort of our own homes such as sit-ups and other numerous activities even those performed on the floor, and gain all benefits that effectively save us from sedentary lifestyles,” said the joint communiqué.
According to the joint organizers of the event, who included West African representatives from Ghana, Nigeria and the Gambia, arrangements have been put in place to mark this event annually at MKU. The first time that the International Day for Peace and Development was marked at MKU was in 2019 when the Kenyan institution hosted the 4th International Conference for African Sports Management Association.