Image: Monica Munga, a Para athlete from Zambia
The International Committee for Paralympics (IPC) has confirmed that 49 Sub-Saharan African territories will be provided free-to-air coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as part of the AT2030 programme's ParaSport Against Stigma Project. The AT2030 programme is funded by the UK Aid and led by the Global Disability Innovationi Hub.
For the first time, African viewers will watch the opening and closing ceremonies broadcast live on 24 August and 5 September 2021. Daily 52-minute highlights packages of African centred content featuring the continent’s biggest Paralympic heroes and rising stars, will be provided in English, French and Portuguese. It is estimated that the broadcasts will reach over 250 million viewers in Africa.
Emmanuel Nii Tettey Oku is a Para powerlifter competing for Ghana at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He said: “During the Olympics I saw some of my least athletic friends post and share highlights and commentary about the Games. This was not only about the sport but also the different discussions surrounding the Games like trending topics on Simone Biles. I thought it was interesting how trending topics and visibility can cause people to talk about things that they would otherwise overlook.
“So, for me broadcasting the Games and its highlights is an opportunity to make Para sport trend enough for people to talk about it and this will help fight disability stigma here in Ghana and Africa. I think broadcasting the Games and coverage can help raise awareness of Para Sport and help Para athletes to tell our stories and showcase our achievements.”
Vicki Austin, CEO of the Global Disability Innovation Hub, which leads the AT2030 project, added:
“This project shows the power of partnership and how to turn a moment of inspiration into real world impact. Although this idea began at GDI Hub, working together with Loughborough, IPC, TVMS, Hogan Lovells, University of Malawi and others, we have been able to far exceed even our own ambitions, bringing the power of the Paralympic Games to millions more people. We know from London 2012 that hearts and minds can shift because of the power of the sport, and in the case of access to Assistive Technology – like hearing aids, communication devices and eyeglasses – overcoming stigma is vital to ensuring every one of the 1.2 billion disabled people globally have access to the AT they need and are able to realise their UNCRPD enshrined human rights. It is with huge thanks to UK Aid, who funded this important work, proving that together, we can bring Tokyo 2020 to Africa in 2021, and create positive change for disabled people for many years to come."