In just the last decade, over 2 million children have been killed as a direct result of armed conflict, and more than three times that number have been permanently disabled or seriously injured. An estimated 20 million children have been forced to flee their homes, and hundreds of thousands of young boys and girls have been forced to serve as child soldiers.
UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE has been launched to directly address these issues. The objective of this campaign, which UNICEF and FIFA are bringing to the hundreds of millions of viewers as play begins in Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, is to ensure that every child has the right to a peaceful world, free from conflict and abuse.
Football reaches more youth than any other recreational activity in the world. Football’s magic touch is a worldwide phenomenon that has made the sport more than just a game. It plays a major part in shaping culture in countries the world over. Harnessing the power of football, a universal language that all children understand, can translate into an effective tool to combat violence and conflict, enabling children to grow up in more peaceful societies.
Building on success
This campaign was born out of the strong bond FIFA and UNICEF have developed over the last seven years, and FIFA’s continual generosity to help UNICEF achieve its mission of health, education, equality and protection for every child.
In 2004, for example, FIFA donated 1,200 ‘Sports-in-a-Box’ recreation kits to UNICEF for countries affected by conflict. The donation helped each of these countries to develop sport-related programming for peace education and peace-building.
To build on the success of that initiative, UNICEF and FIFA have come together once again to promote the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE theme, which will encompass a number of country programmes and specifically focus on global communications during and after the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It will strive not only to promote peace internationally and nationally, but to reach deep into local communities and communicate with people on an individual level.
The campaign’s seeks to promote the values of peace and to address the widespread problem of violence and discrimination against children.
Football’s positive impact
UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE pairs UNICEF and FIFA with MTV to form a virtual team that will film public service announcements featuring top players from countries competing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A second virtual team featured in the campaign will consist of children from various countries around the world affected by violence and conflict. These children will tell how football has had a positive impact on their lives.
UNICEF will have booths outside of 2006 FIFA World Cup stadiums in three German cities: Berlin, Cologne and Munich. The booths will promote UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE with banners, televisions showing the MTV spots and webcams encouraging fans to come visit the booths.
The campaign also aims to enhance FIFA’s anti-discrimination and Fair Play campaigns, and further the aims of the UN Secretary-General’s forthcoming report on violence and children. UNICEF and FIFA hope to extend this initiative for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.