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Cablegate: Sports Envoy Request

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #1119 3481037
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141037Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4970

UNCLAS KIGALI 001119

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

ECA/PE/CE, AF/PD FOR PATRICIA EHRNMAN AND KATHARINE MOSELEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OEXC IS JO KPAO LE RW
SUBJECT: SPORTS ENVOY REQUEST

REF: A. STATE 153793
B. STATE 165437

1. Post welcomes the possibility of participating in the ECA
sports program in FY08 and is pleased to submit this request
for a Sports Envoy in field of basketball. With an
enthusiastic audience for the program, a low crime rate,
excellent climate, and meticulously clean environment, post
believes Kigali would make an excellent venue for a Sports
Envoy program. Preferred program dates are anytime during
the month of July when Rwandan students are on school
holiday.

2. Basketball is a fast growing sport in Rwanda, the NBA and
its stars are increasingly popular among young Rwandans, and
sports are an extremely important outlet for kids in a
country with few recreational facilities. Post is confident
of its ability to organize a highly successful program and
has the enthusiastic backing of the Ministry of Youth,
Culture, and Sport for this endeavor. More than 60 percent
of Rwanda's population is under the age of 18 and Rwanda's
genocide left the country with one of the highest levels of
orphaned children in the world, making youth outreach
programs especially important and meaningful. The Sports
Envoy program provides an excellent opportunity to diversify
and extend our youth outreach programs. As a focus country
for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),
post provides extensive support to orphans and vulnerable
children across the country and also reaches out to youth
with targeted HIV/AIDS behavioral change communication
programs and voluntary counseling and testing initiatives.
Post would seek opportunities to utilize the Sports Envoy
program to advance the objectives of these existing programs
and vice versa.

3. Rwanda has fledgling men's and women's professional
basketball leagues and has also developed under-21 national
sides. Basketball is also widely played at Rwanda's
universities and in youth centers around the country. Post
would draw on these communities to identify youth to
participate in the program. Despite its rapidly growing
popularity, basketball does not have deep roots in Rwanda.
As a result there is a critical shortage of trained coaches
at all levels of the game. For this reason, post proposes to
organize a clinic for local coaches in addition to a series
of drills and teambuilding activities for youth.

4. The Embassy's primary partners in this initiative would be
the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sport and the Rwandan
Basketball Federation. As indicated, the Ministry has
already endorsed this proposal. Post previously was
approached by the Basketball Federation with a request to
support clinics for local coaches; we are confident,
therefore, that the Federation would be equally enthusiastic
about this program. The primary venue for the clinics would
be the 3,000 seat national basketball/volleyball stadium in
Kigali.

5. It is rare that Rwanda has the opportunity to host
internationally recognized sports personalities. Local TV,
radio, and print media would be eager to cover all aspects of
the program.
ARIETTI

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