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At a glance: Venezuela, The Bolivarian Republic of

Children are at the heart of Copa América 2007 in Venezuela

UNICEF Image: Venezuela, Copa America
© UNICEF video
A young Venezuelan boy in the public service announcement for Copa América 2007 shows that sport can be a force for unity.

By Nicolas David

As an encore to the Copa América held in Peru in 2004, UNICEF is again the partner of choice for Latin America’s oldest and most revered football tournament. At this year’s event, taking place in Venezuela from 26 June to 15 July, UNICEF is promoting children’s right to play.

CARACAS, Venezuela, 6 July 2007 – Many Venezuelan children do not have enough safe and healthy places to play. The international Copa América 2007 is a unique opportunity for UNICEF to highlight its concerns for their well-being.

With few places to play, children devote too little time to sports. In a growing and worrying trend, many young people are spending more time in front of television or the computer rather than participating in sports.

Yet sports activities have plenty of proven benefits. For example, they:

  • Contribute to healthy physical and mental development
  • Show children how to think critically and solve problems
  • Promote friendship, solidarity and honesty
  • Teach self-control, self-esteem and respect for others
  • Help to overcome differences and promote equality.

In the run-up to the Copa América, UNICEF Venezuela developed a campaign called ‘With Children We All Win!’ to promote games and sports as a way of achieving children’s healthy growth and development. The campaign aims to raise awareness – among public institutions, non-governmental organizations, the media, the private sector and beyond – about the importance of sports for children across Latin America.

UNICEF Image: Venezuela, Copa America
© UNICEF video
Children of Caracas who participated in filming the Copa América video spot follow the boy with the soccer ball and get ready to play.

Children star in TV spot

The best way to achieve this objective, UNICEF decided, was to let the boys and girls themselves become the protagonists in claiming their right to play. To that end, more than 80 children from a poor district in Caracas took part in the filming of a video spot for broadcast in stadiums during the Copa América and on national and international TV channels covering the soccer event.

The public service announcement shows a boy running after a ball through the streets of his neighbourhood; as the ball keeps rolling through the alleys, other girls and boys join the game. The video had the added benefit of providing a bit of free and unexpected entertainment – and a topic for discussion – among underprivileged young people from the area where it was filmed.

Although the campaign has only just begun, it has already achieved positive results. By doing pro bono work in the production and design of the TV spot, the advertising agency Leo Burnett and the production company Prahka have set a good example of practical ways in which the private sector can support children.

Several broadcasters have aired the spot free of charge as a way of expressing their commitment to children’s fundamental right to play. In so doing they have confirmed that, indeed, ‘With Children We All Win!’




Watch UNICEF’s public service announcement for Copa América in Venezuela.
In Spanish.
 VIDEO  high | low

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