TES-D pilot in Denmark: National Danish Performance Team collaborates with embassy in Estonia

By DGI/National Danish Performance Team

The National Danish Performance Team's (NDPT) mission is to contribute to and encourage exercise, cheerfulness and understanding in the world. Through the shows and workshops, they entertain and inspire to an active lifestyle and strengthen healthy living. They seek and provide challenges to achieve enhanced skills and self-empowerment and build communities to achieve cultural and human understanding. NDPT is ambassador to an inclusive, democratic and dynamic grassroots sports culture.

The National Danish Performance Team is strengthening the voluntary associations as a framework for sports and exercise with emphasis on community, challenge, joy of movement and health. The team visited countries, cities, communities and cultures all over the world, such as Argentina, UAE, Taiwan, Uganda and USA. They interact with high level public authorities, such as governments, mayors, embassies and likewise with schools, sport federations, civil society organisations, companies and individuals,- carrying the messages and attitudes “Sport for all - sport for fun - sport for life".

Our pilot project focused on Sport Diplomacy in Estonia and created awareness and insights, and the involved stakeholders agree, that retrospect, having exemplary cases and targeted promotion material we might have succeeded in getting partnerships with local companies, who wanted to support the initiative and positive messaging.

But post-Covid, it was very difficult to get any financial support for initiatives like this, and the overall financial situation in Estonia was also affected by the huge number of Ukrainian refugees, recession etc. NDPT collaborated with many Danish Embassies during the world tour, to build an example case, and here is an overview of what they achieved in Estonia. 

The pilot started with exploring the possibilities of local partnerships channeled through an official network. The Embassy established contact with the local Charity My Dream Day and the Danish Contingent based in Estonia. They were in contact with the city government to get the needed permissions etc. and allocated embassy staff to maintain the daily communication and planning with Sports organization Kalev, media etc.

Having the embassy to organize the stay in Tallinn, the team was instrumental to promote sport for all, healthy living, Danish culture etc. for a wider audience at public city performances, and as the official Danish contribution, celebrating a national Estonian holyday.

For most parts, they succeeded in having a variety of stakeholders included. With more time, it would have been beneficial with more volunteer, community-based clubs involved, commercial partnerships and support from the city government to continue the work and cooperation.

The activities got great attention in local media, both leading up to the visit and during the visit.

The newspaper Postimees had a feature on the team focusing on healthy living and the values of sport for all, and live streamed the gala performance, speech from Danish Ambassador and opening with the Danish soldiers. The workshops and shows got local coverage, and the embassy etc. posted from the events.

The cooperation with especially the Danish Embassy and the Estonian sports association has been exemplary. From early on, the embassy allocated two staff, an intern, and the embassy communication officer, to assist in coordination, planning and communication. The ambassador was personally committed to make the visit a success.

Eesti Spordiselt Kalev was key to organize all the practicalities of the stay and shows in Tallinn, and did also coordinate with two other cities, Kuuresare and Tartu, to extend the team visit to Estonia for more impact and awareness raising on gymnastics, exercise, and community-based sports. Kalev assisted with both staff and volunteer resources. Locally in Tallinn volunteers from Trefoil Sports Club were arranging workshops and acted city guided etc. and established peer-to-peer relations with the Danish athletes.

Overall, 10-12 people have been directly involved in the planning and execution of the event.

Spectators wise we estimate that approximately 6.000 locals saw one of the public performances in Tallinn (Kuuresare and Tartu not included)

Participant wise around 300 kids, youth and adults were directly engaged in one of the Tallinn workshops and estimated 30 persons participated in the masterclass.

Unfortunately, only 25 of potentially 300 kids from the Ukrainian refugees participated in the workshop.

It was important to have all the local entities closely involved, as they are the ones to work on the impact and relations created when the team is back in Denmark. Naturally, it has practical issues as well, as we are not present in the country in the time leading up to the event. 

Retrospect, NDFPT reflects that they should have had a direct contact to the local charity My Dream Day, to better explain what the workshop and activities were all about, to have a better turn-out rate of participants from the refugee kids. The kids and the parent that participated had a great morning playing and doing exercise with the Danish Team and the Danish soldiers involved. It is a learning point to have a close, direct dialogue with a key target group to ensure the foundation for success, though difficult from the distance.

Among the world tour host countries, Estonia was selected based on interviews with the different Danish Embassies. 

The Danish Embassy in Estonia was very interested in the model and could instantly see the benefits of a combined effort, supporting their ongoing public diplomacy outreach programme.

Partners involved:
•    National Danish Performance Team
•    Royal Danish Embassy, Tallinn
•    Estonian Sport for All association, Eesti Spordiselts Kalev
•    Estonian Charity Foundation My Dream Day, Minu Unistuste Päev
•    Trefoil Sports School, local gymnastics club; Trefoil Spordikool
•    Danish contingent Jydske Dragonregiment part of DANCON eFP NATO Battlegroup Estonia.

The Embassy was involved in the overall Estonian tour, but the pilot programme was concentrated to the stay in Tallinn.

Where to now?

The pilot proved, that bringing the NDPT center stage and connecting various stakeholders, each with a matching agenda, with the approval stamp of the official entity, the embassy, was beneficial to all, and left an impact.

This model can be further developed with more cases and evidence and is considered a strong tool to form partnerships with official entities. Eventually creating a model and framework for cooperation and interaction with the wide variety of stakeholders around sport for all activities and the positive impact and messaging connected.

"At the embassy, we try to reach out to the civil society. NDPT and sport are an instrumental to that. You simply reach out with your message about Danish Values in a completely different way, than embassy staff in a suit." Kristina Miskowiak Beckvard, Denmark Ambassador to Estonia

Posted on 10/11/2022 by DGI/National Danish Performance Team