|Footballer Stephen Appiah from Ghana, the host country for the Africa Cup of Nations 2008, during the making of one in a series of public service announcements on quality education for all children.|
NEW YORK, USA, 16 January 2008 – UNICEF and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have united in a joint campaign to harness the power of football during the MTN Africa Cup of Nations, GHANA 2008 – Africa’s biggest international football competition. The campaign seeks to promote quality education for all of Africa’s children.
CAF represents international football in Africa and organizes the biennial Cup of Nations event. This year’s tournament will be hosted by Ghana from 20 January through 10 February, bringing together the best national football teams from 16 countries to compete in four Ghanaian cities: Accra, Sekondi, Kumasi and Tamale.
During the high-profile games, UNICEF and CAF will promote the achievement of two education-related Millennium Development Goals – achieving universal primary school education (MDG 2) and promoting gender equality and empowering women (MDG 3).
While progress has been made in education across Africa, many challenges remain. In sub-Saharan African alone, some 41 million primary-school-age children are not in school, while millions who do attend classes are often without teachers, textbooks or basic school supplies. Students frequently lack access to toilets or safe water at school, and their chances of dropping out are high.
Footballers star in video spots
UNICEF and CAF are working with African football stars to act as role models in the campaign to improve these conditions.
|Girls play football at Savelugu Junior Secondary School in the town of Savelugu, capital of Savelugu-Nanton District, in Ghana’s Northern Region.|
Among the footballers involved are Stephen Appiah from Ghana, Nwankwo Kanu from Nigeria, Salomon Kalou from Côte d’Ivoire, Aaron Mokoena from South Africa, Samuel Eto’o from Cameroon and Oumar Tchomogo from Benin.
Through a series of public service announcements and other means, these popular athletes will help to drive home the message that quality education helps children – especially girls – to stay in school and gain the knowledge and confidence they need to pursue their dreams.
The PSAs encourage football fans in five nations competing in the tournament to use their mobile phones as a donation tool for education programmes in their own countries. Fans who subscribe to the MTN mobile-phone service will be able to donate the local equivalent of $1 by sending an SMS text to a prescribed number. All donations will stay in-country to benefit local children.
“Playing football helped me to gain self-discipline, confidence, negotiation skills, teamwork and leadership,” says UNICEF Ghana Goodwill Ambassador and former star footballer Marcel Desailly. “I am glad to learn UNICEF considers sport an important part of education.”
Donations for quality education
Quality education is about providing children with a healthy, safe and protective environment free from fear and discrimination. The UNICEF and CAF partnership aims to raise awareness of the role of quality education in Africa’s development – and to raise funds for universal quality education on the continent.
In addition to the SMS donation initiative, UNICEF and CAF have launched a special fundraising website that will also be publicized throughout the MNT Africa Cup of Nations: Ghana 2008. To make an online donation that will help to get Africa’s girls and boys in school – and help them stay there – visit www.unicef.org/ghana.
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