The United Nations World Tourism Organization ST-EP Foundation and the World Olympians Association

Date: 08 May 2009


The ST-EP Foundation was established in 2003 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The ST-EP name stands for Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty. ST-EP was created to utilize the developmental power of tourism in the fight against world poverty. Its origins and activities are especially focused on people living on less than a dollar a day. The targets are the world’s least developed countries, especially those in Africa, along with developing states in general.

The World Olympians Association (WOA) is a non-profit organization that operates exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, in harmony with the fundamental principles of Olympism. WOA President and Olympic legend Dick Fosbury says “Olympic athletes are the greatest ambassadors of goodwill in the world of sports. They are the heroes of the Olympic Movement and therefore the most effective messengers of Olympism for people everywhere, especially the youth of today.”
These two organizations have teamed up to bring sport and education programs to the developing world to help combat extreme poverty. UNWTO ST-EP Foundation developed a program called “Thank You Small Library”. A Thank you small library is a center for literacy and basic education. In December an agreement was signed with the World Olympians Association to collaborate on enhancing this program by harnessing the power of sport in bringing people together, teaching vales, and creating more peaceful communities.

The first library opening under this agreement took place last month in Mozambique. The World Olympians association provided the books for the library and the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation provided the bookshelves, tables, chairs and desks. This library was the first to open one of the IOC supported Olymp- Africa Centers.

In this moving video, WOA Director of Global Programs, Tracy Mattes shows how basic education and literacy programs are the key to breaking the cycles of poverty, while showing the power of sport and Olympism in bringing people together, teaching values and creating peace and harmony. Mattes is a former American athlete and was appointed UN Special Representative in 2005.

This same program will be implemented on Olymp-Africa centers in Mali and Senegal.

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