Youth Sport Trust International meets Lucy Protas

Youth Sport Trust International (YST International) recently caught up with Lucy Protas, founder of Sports for Change Tanzania, and proud YST International alumnus. Lucy discussed how YST International helped give her the experience, skills and confidence to create and run Sports for Change Tanzania, a local initiative dedicated to address and find solutions to community challenges through sport.

Lucy Protas (right) with the Sports for Change Tanzania team

Lucy’s first experience was in 2012, when she attended the Beckwith International Leadership Development Program (BILD) training in her home country of Tanzania. Through this training Lucy built up her leadership skills and broadened her understanding of the opportunities available in sport and sport development. This acted as a stepping stone to her future career, helping develop and channel her drive to make a difference through sport.

Following on from BILD training, Lucy was invited to represent Tanzania at the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) Youth Leadership Camp in Germany in 2015. More recently she attended the 2017 Power of Sport Youth Leadership Camp in Sweden, where she attended as an advanced leader, helping mentor other younger leaders. These camps, developed by UNOSDP alongside YST International, brought together young leaders from around the world who are united by their belief that sport can change lives. The aim of the camps was to train and support outstanding young leaders from developing countries to learn the skills of leading, developing and managing sport for development programmes.

Lucy attributes her involvement with BILD and the first UNOSDP camp as helping shape her future and career:

Without the project I would not have become who I am today. Taking part in the project shaped my whole future and career. After my engagement in BILD training, and my participation in the Youth Leadership Camp, I saw sport in a whole different perspective. That is when I understood the Sport for Development and Peace concept and decided to pursue it as a career.

After attending the first camp in 2015, Lucy put her new skills to use and created a local initiative in her home country of Tanzania which set out to address educational challenges (school dropouts, truancy, teenage pregnancy) through sport. The camp in Germany helped Lucy develop further a number of skills and ideas- from improving her communication skills, working with young people with disabilities and learning about new adaptable games and activities. These helped her to become a better leader. Lucy’s passion and caring nature shone through, and at the end of the camp, Lucy was voted as the most supportive and caring young leader by her peers.

The 2017 camp in Sweden gave Lucy the chance to really hone her leadership and community development skills, building on her real-world experiences since founding Sports for Change Tanzania in 2016. This camp provided Lucy with the opportunity to meet incredible young leaders from different parts of the world, exchanging knowledge, experiences and advice, as well as participating in sessions on diversity, equality, and leadership. Through the camp Lucy was able to add new games and modules to her repertoire, helping her continue to make her sessions more inclusive. Improving her ability to make sessions inclusive and accommodating has helped Lucy in her day to day job. Sports for Change Tanzania recently ran the Tanzania Youth Festival, where they provided a huge variety of sports, games and other activities to make sure everyone who attended the event was accommodated.

Lucy Protas (right) at the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp in Berlin

Our Beckwith International Leadership Development programme is all about developing a cadre of capable youth sport leaders to support sustainable sport for development programmes. Lucy demonstrates passion, creativity and dedication. She is an excellent role model for the young people she works with and I am delighted that Lucy is one of our BILD alumni.

Viv Holt, Head of International Operations at the Youth Sport Trust International


In the future Lucy hopes to reach more children and young people, helping them develop skills, build their confidence and self-esteem, and improve their health (both physical and mental) with a fun platform of sports and activities. Lucy plans to continue to learn and develop her own skills, and ensure she is equipped with the tools and resources to continue to inspire positive change in young people.

Advice for young people

And finally, what advice would Lucy give to young people interested in using sport for change?

The best advice I would give any young person is to ensure they love what they do, and have strong passion, discipline and grit. To get more involved in sports and be proactive; more action and less words.

Find out more about Sports for Change Tanzania here.