The University of Gloucestershire led Sport Malawi and Malawi 2012 project has won Gold at the prestigious London 2012 Games-inspired Podium Awards.
The Sport Malawi project uses sports to reach and educate people on issues of gender equality, poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Each year, staff and students from the University set-off on a four-week expedition to deliver multi-sports workshops and coaching sessions to more than 500 people, via the education of local organisations, teachers and church leaders.
Building on the opportunities presented through the Sport Malawi initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Malawi National Olympic Committee was signed to create a Gloucestershire Consortium with Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, and Aspire Sports & Cultural Trust. that will provide facilities for the Malawi Olympic team during their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Andy Pitchford, Director of Sport at the University of Gloucestershire, said: "This is great recognition for both our young and enterprising team of staff and students, and to our network of friends and supporters both here and in Malawi."
Sport Malawi and Malawi 2012 was one of three innovative initiatives to be shortlisted for the British Council Award for Innovative International Collaboration at the one-off Podium Awards, from the Further and Higher Education Unit for the 2012 Games. Bristol University and the University of Loughborough also competed in the category that recognises the best international partnership built on the opportunities presented by the UK's hosting of the Games.
Paul Deighton, CEO LOCOG said: "Colleges and Universities have played an integral role in supporting London 2012. I congratulate all at the University of Gloucestershire on winning a gold medal at the Podium Awards. The Malawi 2012 programme is a tremendous example of how the power of the Games is being used to inspire people to make a real and lasting difference."
Established in 2008, Sport Malawi is a long-term project centred upon a partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and significant agencies within sport, education and development in Malawi.
The Podium Awards form part of Universities Week 2012 which takes place from 30 April - 7 May and recognise Higher Education's contribution to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Podium received more than 200 nominations for diverse Olympic and Paralympic Games related projects, programmes and partnerships produced by Further and Higher Education providers across the UK.
The Awards Evening took place last night, the day before the British Universities & Colleges Sport Outdoor Athletics Championships (4-7 May 2012). This will be the official test event for the Olympic Stadium and will involve over 40,000 spectators watching the very best of student sport.
• The Malawi Olympic team is expected to arrive in Gloucestershire on June 25 for the pre-London 2012 Olympic Games Training Camp. Selection is yet to take place, however, it is anticipated that eight athletes from four disciplines including Swimming, Tae Kwon Do, Athletics and Weightlifting will travel to Gloucestershire, accompanied by a coach from each discipline and one official for the squad.
• The University of Gloucestershire has a long standing relationship with Malawi, with the Sport Malawi project visiting the country in June to deliver conferences on development through sport. To find out more visit http://www.sportmalawi.moonfruit.com/
• The London 2012 Olympic Games take place from July 27 to August 12. The Paralympic Games run from August 29 to September 9. For more information, please visit http://www.london2012.com/
Source: University of Gloucestershire