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World Cup in My Village an enormous success


NEW YORK/CAPE TOWN, 12 July 2010 - Thousands of young people in the most remote areas in Rwanda and Zambia watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup games as the eyes of the world focused on their continent for the past four weeks.

As part of World Cup in My Village, UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and local partners set up public viewing areas in sandy football pitches, open fields, community schools and refugee settlements, all areas with limited or no access to electricity and broadcast connection. In Rwanda alone, 20,000 people who are cut off from mainstream sources of information made use of the public viewing areas in their communities.

As well as watching the games, World Cup in My Village used the power of football to communicate with young people and encourage them to make their voices heard. In radio and video workshops, youth from the local community learned interviewing techniques and produced media pieces which were good enough to be shown to an audience of thousands of people. Their works were aired during match half-times and were complemented by public service announcements on education, child rights, health and other pressing issues.

“The success of this initiative has shown us that we are on the right track in our thinking”, said Mr.Gerrit Beger, who is leading UNICEF’s innovations drive. “The opportunities provided by social media and new technologies for our work are enormous. Tens of thousands of rural and marginalised children and young people have been reached with educational messaging and were able to enjoy the World Cup for the first time in their lives.”

First time opportunity

In Zambia the screens were moved around each night and attracted a total of 12,000 viewers. The earlier viewings took place in community schools and then the project moved to a UNHCR refugee settlement eight hours away from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, for the last week of screenings.

Many young people in Zambia, who were interviewed by the youth journalists, remarked that they had only ever heard football games on the radio and that it was the first time they had actually seen the players they had heard so much about.

“The primary highlight for me was seeing the confidence of the youth journalists as they took on leadership positions at the screenings and used the opportunity to speak about issues concerning them in their communities” said Michal Rahfaldt, Director of Programs at the Children’s Radio Foundation. Education, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, the environment and child rights were only a few topics that the young reporters addressed in their radio talk shows.

New opportunities for youth

Now that the World Cup is over, the inflatable screens and projectors will be used by UNICEF Country Offices for future community activities. The project’s community partner in Rwanda, Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle, is discussing the possibility of starting a youth radio station based on the philosophy: 'radio for young people, by young people' with the core group of newly trained youth reporters.

In Zambia the young journalists have arranged to work with reporters at a local community radio station to create regular youth programming and to host a talk show for young people in their communities. Acting as peer leaders they are engaging young people from their communities in the program. Many of the young journalists have also taken on the role of climate ambassadors, advocating for responsible environmental behavior in their communities. Their new skills support them in their role as youth activists.

World Cup in My Village was created as a part of UNICEF’s support of the 1 Goal campaign, which aims at getting every child into primary school by 2015. The majority of media pieces produced by young people were about how education or the lack of it had affected their lives.

Through media training many young people learned how to express themselves better and found ways to participate in the discussions of their communities. Following the enormous success of the project UNICEF and the Children’s Radio Foundation are now exploring ways to replicate the concept in more countries and for more great sporting events to come.



Video footage is available free of charge at

Audio footage is available free of charge at

Stories written by youth are available on  

For more information, please contact:

Janine Kandel
UNICEF New Yorkia
Tel + 1 212 326 7684,





Video: World Cup

2 July 2010:
Young fans see FIFA World Cup 2010 on the big screen

1 Goal Campaign

Newsline: FIFA 2010 World Cup


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