Hogan Lovells is pleased to announce its support for Para Sport Against Stigma, a four-year collaborative project that will include free-to-air (FTA) broadcasting of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to 49 Sub-Saharan African countries provided by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and led by the IPC with Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDIH), Loughborough University London and University of Malawi, Chancellor College and which is funded by UK Aid.
The broadcast coverage is part of Para Sport Against Stigma UK Aid funded AT2030 programme implementing and studying Para sport as a platform for challenging disability stigma across Africa. Broadcasting the Games to 49 Sub-Saharan countries is a key element of the project, which aims to support social change and overcome stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities in Africa. This innovative approach is part of a wider Assistive Technology programme (AT2030) led by Hogan Lovells’ social enterprise client, Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDIH).
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-centered content featuring the continent’s biggest Paralympic heroes and rising stars, will be provided in English, French, and Portuguese. The project also sits alongside, the IPC’s “I’mPossible” campaign to work with National Paralympic Committees of Ghana, Malawi, and Zambia to deliver education programmes to assist the countries in meeting their commitments under the Convention of the Rights of the Disabled.
The Hogan Lovells team providing pro bono legal support for the project includes media specialist lawyer Penny Thornton, counsel Matthew Knowles, and trainee solicitor Alice Whitehead, with support from past Global Chair, Nicholas Cheffings, a champion of diversity and inclusion efforts, and Yasmin Waljee, Pro Bono Partner at Hogan Lovells. The team was involved in assisting Para Sport Against Stigma and GDIH pro bono with the broadcast contract and liaison with the NPCs to assist athletes from the focus countries to satisfy the procedural requirements to participate in the Tokyo games.
The former Global Chair at Hogan Lovells, Nicholas Cheffings, after whom the Nicholas Cheffings Para Athlete Bursary has been named, said: “Our partnership with GDIH and Loughborough University London in support of the Para Sport Against Stigma project strengthens our firm commitment to disability sport in addition to our work with the Haitian team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as well as our campaign with The Dream to secure the TV rights to broadcast the Games in Haiti. Our support demonstrates Hogan Lovells’ commitment to Paralympic Sport globally and supporting nation-states in implementing the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
Yasmin Waljee, International Pro Bono Partner, said: “The broadcast initiative of the Para Sport Against Stigma project provides leadership to address the inequalities faced by people with disabilities. Our support for inclusion and social change across Africa is an example of our strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and responsible business.”
In the UK, Hogan Lovells is a Disability Confident Committed employer and has a long-standing relationship with the British Paralympic Association, a Gold Partner and the Official Legal Services Provider. The firm is also a member of The Valuable 500 – the largest network of global CEOs dedicated to diversity and embedding disability inclusion throughout the business.
Delivering on its commitment to diversity and inclusion and responsible business is a strategic priority for Hogan Lovells, with ability inclusion a core focus that the firm recognizes is crucial to achieving the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.