NEW YORK, 8 June 2010 - Young Africans are passionate about soccer, and some young people in remote parts of the continent will be able to watch TV broadcasts of the World Cup for the first time this year, thanks to a special project set up by UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and other community partners. The pilot project will provide access to the games to youth in areas of Rwanda and Zambia where there is no electricity or broadcasting service.
Large open-air screens and projectors have been set-up in the Rubavu District in Rwanda, the town of Mongu and the UNHCR Refugee Camp of Mayukwayukwa in Zambia. Teams on the ground are currently preparing the sites for the upcoming event. The World Cup matches will be screened from 11 June to 11 July. In addition to the football, special public service announcements produced by UNICEF and partners will provide the audience -- largely cut off from mainstream sources of information -- with information about education, health and child protection. The public viewing spaces will also be used for community events such as youth soccer games and educational activities on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
The young people will be encouraged to do more than just watch the games. Both before and during the screenings, video and audio training workshops will be offered to help them build story-writing and equipment skills that will allow them to report on the Cup and on matters that have an impact on their lives. Flip cameras, laptops and recording devices will be provided and social media platforms will be used so a global audience can witness the excitement that the World Cup will bring to these isolated regions. This way, young people can interact with other young soccer fans around the world and share their personal experiences.
“If we want to reach youth in rural areas we have to be innovative,” says Gerrit Beger, Chief of UNICEF’s Youth Section in New York. “This initiative gives children and young people a voice, education and the opportunity to enjoy the World Cup in rural areas and refugee camps. Successful initiatives are those that are reaching the most marginalized. New technologies combined with traditional media allow us to do so. This will set a precedent for other global events in the future.”
The World Cup in My Village project has been developed in support of the 1 Goal campaign, which promotes education for all children. Short videos produced by young people will show their take on education and youth participation. The importance of succeeding in bringing education to all will be highlighted by UNICEF messaging around the games.
Community partners like the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Children’s Radio Foundation, Grassroot Soccer, Sport in Action, and others, together with UNICEF Country Offices and UNICEF Headquarters in New York, are closely collaborating on this pilot to overcome any technical or logistical challenges. If successful, it will be replicated in the future, both around other sporting events and in more countries.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
Video footage and high resolution images will be available free of charge at www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef
Audio clips will be available free of charge at www.radioworkshop.org
Stories about the screenings written by youth will be available on www.voicesofyouth.org
For further information or to arrange for an interview with staff on the ground or youth spokespersons from the region please contact:
Misbah Sheikh, UNICEF Rwanda,
Tel +250 788 300 731,
Patrick Slavin, UNICEF Zambia
Tel.: +260 977 770 616,
Janine Kandel, UNICEF New York,
Tel.: + 1 212 326 7684,
Shantha Bloemen, UNICEF Johannesburg,
tel.: +27 11 517 1617,
Michal Rahfaldt, Children’s Radio Foundation,
Tel.: +27 72 341 2880,