Football is a game of anticipation. On the field, players are always contemplating how their next move will open up an opportunity to reach the goal.
Since 1999, the partnership between UNICEF and FIFA has functioned very much the same way. Anticipating the tremendous benefits football can have on the development of children, the two organizations have teamed up over the last seven years, using the world’s most popular sport to prevent children from being recruited as child soldiers, inform them about the dangers of HIV/AIDS through education and discussion, and promote educations for girls, among many other objectives.
This year, the two unite once again for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in the spirit of UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE. The campaign will focus on global communications activities before, during and after the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and will include various multi-media initiatives on the web and television.
The goal of the campaign is to demonstrate how footballers can serve as role models, and how the game of football is one of the most powerful ways through which the world can receive messages of non-violence, tolerance and peace.
|© UNICEF/ HQ05-0596/Estey|
A natural match
UNICEF and FIFA have proven a natural match since the two became teammates. Over years, they have been active in ensuring every child’s right to a peaceful world, free from conflict and abuse.
Together, UNICEF and FIFA have aimed to use the leverage of football and the prestige of the World Cup to mobilize children and youth around the world to ‘Say Yes for Children’, the motto for their first World Cup partnership in Japan and Korea in 2002.
In 2003, FIFA and UNICEF reached out to young girls around the world for the Women’s World Cup under the theme, ‘Go Girls’. The campaign promoted the right to education for all girls worldwide. FIFA generously donated $150,000 to UNICEF during the campaign, enabling UNICEF to send thousands of ‘Sports-in-a-Box’ kits to 11 countries.
Coping with conflict
Programmes such as in Fútbol para la Vida, an AIDS education initiative in Honduras, and Fútbol para la Paz, a countrywide program in Colombia using football to bridge communities, are prime examples of how the partnership has played an integral role in providing a safe outlet for children in countries heavily affected by war, poverty and disease.
During the armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Sudan and the Balkans, football helped children cope with the stress and insecurity of conflict. In 2004, FIFA donated another $250,000 to UNICEF to support peace-building efforts in conflict countries. Through the power of football, UNICEF and FIFA helped build a protective environment for children – bringing communities together, rehabilitating former child soldiers, providing safe places for children to vent frustrations and stress through play.