NAIROBI, Kenya - Special Olympics and UNFPA today signed at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 a memorandum of understanding to formalize their global partnersip to empower youth with intellectual disabilities, especially girls and women, to receive increased social protection and greater access to health services.

For both parties, grass-roots inclusive sports represents a powerful platform to provide these opportunities since sport has the ability to unite, empower and level the playing field for all participants, especially girls.

“We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if we continue to exclude women and girls with intellectual disabilities," said David Evangelista, Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia. "They are disproportionately disadvantaged and we need to ensure that, through our partnership with the UNFPA, we empower them to achieve their best – for them, for their communities, and for their nations."

"UNFPA is proud to partner with Special Olympics as we look to harness the power of sport to drive social change for women and girls across the world," said Mariarosa Cutillo, head of UNFPA's Strategic Partnerships Branch. "The plight facing women and girls, especially with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is an urgent development issue that needs increased action- and our partnership with Special Olympics is prepared to do just that.”

All views are those of the original author. Read the full press release here.