Special Olympics

Young girls playing football


The growing global partnership between UNFPA and Special Olympics was formalized by the signing of an agreement during the Nairobi Summit in November 2019. The partnership represents a shared commitment to empower youth with intellectual disabilities, especially girls and women, to access greater social protections and health services.

The partnership focuses on developing thought leadership, inclusive programmes and communication advocacy with an emphasis on positive youth development, gender equality and women’s empowerment and family engagement for inclusive health.

UNFPA and Special Olympics are collaborating in different regions of the world to implement joint initiatives. For example, in partnership with the Shakhtar Football Club, the “Come On, Play!” project teaches football skills to young girls with intellectual disabilities in four Ukrainian cities, and the sport is used as a platform for inclusion and building self-esteem. "We, like these girls, are full of positive energy after the training," said Danylo Sikan, a participating football player.

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