Tag Archives: Commonwealth Games

UNICEF the winner at the Commonwealth Games

International singing superstar Nicole Scherzinger and cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy are two of the star-studded names appearing in a global fundraising first at the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony this evening to help UNICEF save and change the lives of millions of children across the Commonwealth.

Glasgow 2014, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and UNICEF have forged a ground-breaking partnership, with the ambition of improving the lives of children in every country in the Commonwealth through raising money for the Children of the Commonwealth Fund, in the run-up to and during the Games.

Spectators, athletes and an expected one billion viewers from across the Commonwealth will all have the chance to play their part in the ceremony and be invited to Put Children First by making a donation via a text number or url which will create a powerful Games legacy for children.

Sir Chris unveiled the first glimpse of some of the legendary personalities involved in making the Opening Ceremony a unique and momentous opportunity for children in a short film.

It shows Nicole and Chris, along with cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, footballing supremo Sir Alex Ferguson and Line of Duty actress Keeley Hawes, as never seen before, exploring different regions of the Commonwealth over the past three months to witness UNICEF’s life-changing work.

The 90 second trailer film, introduced by Chris Hoy, gives a taster of Glasgow 2014 and UNICEF’s joint ambition to make these Commonwealth Games a unique opportunity to change the lives of children across the Commonwealth.

Exclusive footage which captures the stars and the children they met across the Commonwealth will feature in the Opening Ceremony, culminating in this unique and unifying fundraising moment.

Speaking about her trip to Guyana in Latin America, singer Nicole said: “It was wonderful to see how UNICEF is transforming children’s lives. I had the blessing of meeting children with disabilities who for most of their lives had been stuck at home or in schools without any accessible or welcoming outdoor space. But now, these children have somewhere safe to play and I could see they had hope and happiness in their lives. And that means everything.

“The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony is going to be so exciting. Come on everyone, put 23rd July in your diaries, and tune in to help Keeley, Sachin, Sir Chris, Sir Alex, me, and many, many more, make the Commonwealth Games a life-changing moment for children. Together, wherever we are in the world, we can make sure children come first.”

Speaking about his trip to Malawi, Sir Chris Hoy said: “Meeting children whose lives have been so hugely improved by UNICEF was an incredible experience that will stay with me forever.

“In some parts of Malawi children are going hungry, but at school they are provided with a nutritious meal. Shockingly, for many of them it’s the only meal they will get all day.

“And things we take for granted in the UK, like basic medicine, are not always available in Malawi. I was especially inspired by an incredible young health worker I met called Daniel, who delivers lifesaving medicines to children and their families in some of Malawi’s most rural and remote villages – often located in forests and along unpaved roads which he travels by a personal favourite of mine, the humble bicycle.”

He added: “The Opening Ceremony will be a spectacular moment for Glasgow, Scotland and the Commonwealth as we attempt something that has never been done before; I’m so proud to be a part of that, and I hope everyone will join us by watching on 23 July.”

Speaking about his involvement with UNICEF, Sachin Tendulkar said: “I am proud to be part of the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony in support of UNICEF’s global appeal for children. I’ve witnessed how UNICEF makes such a difference to children’s lives, and I hope that everyone will tune in to the Opening Ceremony to be part of a Commonwealth-wide moment that has never been done before.”

All money raised by UNICEF and Glasgow 2014 through the Opening Ceremony will go to UNICEF’s Children of the Commonwealth Fund and  will help protect children from poverty, disease and exploitation, provide life-saving food and vaccines, and give millions of children the chance to take part in sport – many for the first time.


Human rights under the spotlight ahead of the Games

Human rights experts will join athletes, media and spectators in Glasgow today in advance of the Commonwealth Games.

Five days before start of the competition, and on the eve of Glasgow Pride, activists from around the world are joining with academics attending the ‘LGBTI Human Rights in the Commonwealth’ conference, which opens today at the University of Glasgow.

Currently, 42 out of 53 states in the Commonwealth criminalise same-sex sexual behaviour between adults. The recent Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda has extended and intensified such criminalisation, and a Supreme Court ruling in India has dashed hopes of decriminalisation.

The one-day event will discuss the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the Commonwealth.

The conference aims to create a focus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) human rights discussions in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and provide a space to share ideas, practice and campaigns, engaging participants in global human rights issues and ensuring the visibility of Commonwealth LGBTI people and culture.

The conference will feature three keynote speakers:

  • Fiona Hyslop MSP – Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.
  • Frank Mugisha – Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
  • Purna Sen – Former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat and current Chair of Kaleidoscope Trust.

Dr Matthew Waites, Senior Lecturer in the Glasgow Human Rights Network at the University of Glasgow, said: “The primary reason for the criminalisation that we see in Commonwealth nations today is the British Empire, which historically outlawed same-sex sexual acts around the world.

“We are interested in promoting self-conscious recognition of the historical responsibility of British imperialism for the criminalisation of relationships that exists today.  From that starting point we can then discuss our revulsion at recent renewals and extensions of colonial criminalisation and how to address these inequalities.

Dr Purna Sen, Chair of Kaleidoscope and former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who is one of the opening keynote speakers at the conference, said: “Across the Commonwealth lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are denied equal access to rights, education, employment, housing and healthcare, often on the basis of laws that date back to the British Empire. While it is important to note the colonial origins of much homophobic legislation, Commonwealth nations and the Commonwealth itself must do much more to uphold the values of anti-discrimination set out in the Commonwealth Charter.”

The conference has been initiated and led by Equality Network, Scotland’s LGBTI organisation for equality and human rights, in partnership with Glasgow Human Rights Network at University of Glasgow, and with Kaleidoscope Trust and Pride Glasgow.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, will be representing the Scottish Government as the opening speaker. Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, will be greeting her with other speakers including Frank Mugisha and Purna Sen, Chair of Kaleidoscope.   Further speakers will include Patrick Harvie MSP, and Monica Tabengwa of Human Rights Watch.

Commonwealth Games app launched to boost fitness levels

media_266160_enWith just a month to go until the opening ceremony of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, smartphone owners are being given the opportunity to boost their fitness and learn more about the host city.

An award-winning app, officially launched today by the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde with support from Commonwealth Games competitors, allows users to compete with others around the world to increase their physical activity and test their knowledge of Glasgow before, during and after the Games.

The MyCity: Glasgow app, developed by Glasgow and Strathclyde researchers, uses smartphones’ built-in accelerometers to track how much players walk each day. The app sets daily activity goals for each player based on their activity over the previous few days. The target increases each time players achieve their goals, steadily increasing their levels of activity.

Each time an activity goal is achieved, a reward is unlocked with the appearance of one of 42 of Glasgow’s landmark buildings on a map of the city. Players can find out more about Glasgow through fun ‘Fact or Fiction’ quizzes, and use their phone’s GPS function to follow virtual ‘treasure trails’ across the city.

Users can compare their performance to others’ using the MyCity Activity and Quizzes Leaderboards. They can also share their progress, and selfies of them playing the game, straight from the app to Facebook.

Development of the app was led by Dr Cindy Gray, of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, and Dr Marilyn McGee-Lennon, of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

Dr Gray said: “We’ve worked hard to make MyCity Glasgow a fun way for people to engage with the spirit of the Commonwealth Games by being more active, as well as finding out more about the host city. The app is focused on walking because it’s a low-impact form of activity that most people can participate in.

“MyCity: Glasgow allows people in Glasgow to gain a new perspective on the city by challenging them to visit landmarks, including the Games venues, for themselves. However, it’s also designed so that people can use it to learn about the city from anywhere around the world. All people need to benefit from the app is a mobile device and a willingness to be more active.”

Dr McGee-Lennon added: “When users download the app, they’ll be asked to agree for it to share with us anonymised data about their activity levels. The data will be an invaluable resource for future research into how effective apps can be at promoting behaviour change, which will be of real use for similar public health projects in the future, and will also contribute to the legacy of Glasgow 2014 for the city.”

Athletes from Team Scotland who will be competing in the Commonwealth Games have lent their support to MyCity: Glasgow.

Table tennis player and University of Glasgow physiology and sports science student Lynda Flaws, from Shetland said: “Walking more regularly isn’t a huge commitment but it can make a big difference to people’s health. I’m glad to be backing MyCity: Glasgow, which is a great way to make walking fun.”

800m freestyle swimmer Camilla Hattersley, from Perth, is currently studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Glasgow. She said: “I’m pleased to be involved with MyCity: Glasgow and I hope it’s a big success. It’s great that universities from the host city have made the effort to help educate people around the world about Glasgow and get them active too.

4 x 400m relay runner Kris Robertson, from Bishopbriggs, said: “The Commonwealth Games is brilliant for Glasgow, and the app provides a fantastic opportunity for people to explore the city and get fitter at the same time.”

Badminton player and Strathclyde University student Patrick MacHugh, from Kinross, said: “I hope the MyCity: Glasgow app encourages people from across the country to realise they can be more active more easily than they might think.”

The app has achieved acclaim even before its official launch. In April, it won the gold medal in the ‘Creative & Cultural – Higher Education Institutions’ category at the Game Changer Awards. The awards, organised by Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland, recognised the commitment of Scotland’s universities and colleges to delivering a lasting legacy from the Games. The app was also showcased at the National Telecare and Telehealth Innovation Conference in Perth on 18th June.

The app is available for free download from the Google Play store from June 23 and shortly afterwards from the Apple app store. To find it, simply search for ‘MyCity: Glasgow’.

Development of the app was supported by funding from the University of Glasgow.