Partners in sport
Child football players stand in a circle, in Oranjestad, Aruba. A local retiree coaches the boys, who are from low-income families. One of the boys wears a shirt from the FC Barcelona football team that bears the UNICEF logo.
UNICEF’s partnerships in the world of sport are based on a recognition of the undeniable power of sport to connect with children and adults around the world.
UNICEF works closely with national and international sport federations, sport organizations, non-governmental associations and the media to support children’s right to play, to deliver important messages, mobilize communities and, most important, ensure the long-term development of children, families and communities.
What follows is an outline of some of those partnerships.
Manchester United players and celebrity guests turned out in style for the 14th annual United for UNICEF Gala Dinner, at which over £200,000 was raised for UNICEF to help support the provision of care for children in Vietnam.
Gothia Cup and UNICEF launched Sweat for Water campaign with the world’s first sweat machine, highlighting the issue of cleaner water where today 780 million people lack access to it.
FC Barcelona stars Leo Messi and Jose Manuel Pinto visited children living with disabilities in Thailand, inspiring them to continue to compete in sports and to face down obstacles in life.
The FC Barcelona Foundation and UNICEF reaffirmed their promise to work together to improve the lives of children through sports and education.
FC Barcelona launched a photography exhibition, showing UNICEF’s work on the ground in Swaziland, to raise awareness about the team’s other passion – the lives of young people living with HIV.
Flamengo announced its partnership with UNICEF and presented the Flamengo jersey displaying the UNICEF logo, committing to strengthen social responsibility to protect the rights of children and adolescents.
In 2013 Olympiacos Football Club (FC) and UNICEF launched a partnership to immunize children in countries that urgently need support. The aim of the partnership is to raise funds and awareness, for UNICEF's '100% Campaign' to immunize children not currently reached by vaccination programmes. The partnership has helped protect close to a million babies, supported polio campaigns and the training of medical health workers in Chad.
UNICEF and Special Olympics
UNICEF and Special Olympics have been working together since 2007 to protect and uphold the rights of children with disabilities, as well as change perceptions and promote social inclusion. Reflecting a shared commitment to children with intellectual disabilities, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as well as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the two partners formalized a global Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2011 at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece; it underscores the organizations’ shared goal of empowering children with disabilities. Since 2008, UNICEF and Special Olympics have collaborated in 30 countries across all regions. Joint activities include providing opportunities for inclusive sports participation, free health screenings, early childhood development activities, direct family health education for families and caregivers, as well as working with multilateral organizations to improve in-country policy development to strengthen national laws protecting children’s rights.
UNICEF, the International Cricket Council and UNAIDS
UNICEF has partnered with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and UNAIDS since 2006 to join together to use power of cricket and cricket stars to inform the public – and particularly young people – about the importance of HIV prevention and the elimination of discrimination towards people living with HIV. Through the THINK WISE campaign, the partnership works with cricketing icons and local and regional federations who are championing the cause. THINK WISE aims to:
- Raise awareness about AIDS within the cricket community.
- Support efforts to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV.issues around AIDS.
- Encourage informed decision making and help-seeking behaviours, particularly among young people, to continue to prevent new HIV infections through information and outreach.
The partnership has two major components:
• THINK WISE awareness raising:
Advocacy work carried out by the partnership and leading international cricketers delivers key information and messages about HIV at the international, regional and national levels through public service announcements, event publications and online. This information focuses on awareness, inclusion and informed decision-making. THINK WISE also provides information resources to young people and volunteers, coaches, as well as commentators and broadcasters about AIDS and the partnership.
• THINK WISE ground work:
Around and in the lead-up to key events, community-based coaching sessions, site visits and cricket for development projects are held often involving key cricketing icons, using the power and popularity of cricket to help young people develop the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and skills to reduce their risk and vulnerability to HIV.