Rio 2016's education programme has begun its overseas work with a launch event in the Brazilian city.

The Conexão Transforma project will involve children and students from 17 countries, and see Brazilian high schools interact with fellow youngsters from other countries.

Heads from the Brazilian schools that will take part, which are all in Rio State, met with consulate representatives from the 17 countries at the Rio 2016 headquarters ahead of an online launch of the programme.

They saw examples of activities which will be part of the project, including storytelling about the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the practice of various sports.

Emphasis will be given to sports that are not among the most popular in Brazil, such as rugby sevens, hockey and goalball.

"Transforma is one of the Games’ contributions to Rio de Janeiro and other regions," said Mario Andrada, Rio 2016’s executive director of communications.

Students will take part in three steps, firstly by exchanging "friendship boxes" with objects that represent their country and the culture of their school.

They will then record a video about a popular Olympic and Paralympic sport in their country before holding a cultural fair to celebrate everything learnt about their sister school.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about new cultures and strengthen ties," said Vanderson Berbat, Rio 2016 education manager.

"This exchange can be continued long after the Games end."

Schools from Spain, the United States, Japan, Uruguay, Argentina, Canada, Great Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Cape Verde, Panama, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France will be taking part.

The project will run until June.

Domestically, it is hoped Transforma will be a key legacy of the Games for Brazil.

The aim is for millions of Brazilian children to be reached through various projects.