David Beckham

Goodwill Ambassador

© UNICEF/UKLA2015-00014/Buck
“We can’t turn a blind eye to the tens of thousands of young children who die every day in the developing world mostly from causes that are preventable.” – David Beckham

David Beckham, the British born soccer star, is admired by legions of fans around the world for his skilful moves and powerful kicks on the field. On 10 January 2005, the former England captain was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador with a special focus on UNICEF's Sports for Development programme.

Mr. Beckham’s support for UNICEF began while at the Manchester United Football Club. In November 1999, the team began their ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership with the UK Committee to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF. Mr. Beckham and his team-mates took part in campaigns and fundraising activities to establish education and recreational programmes involving football for children around the world.

In July 2001, while on a pre-season tour in Thailand with the Manchester team, Mr. Beckham visited the UNICEF-supported Kredtrakarn Centre, meeting children as young as five who were victims of exploitation and trafficking. 

Within days of his appointment, Mr. Beckham travelled to UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen to see the crucial work being done to aid children affected by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. There he helped launch a television fundraising appeal with the recording of a public service announcement, an important asset in that campaign. 

Mr. Beckham pledged his support for the ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’ campaign and took part in a series of films to promote the campaigns’ messages. In addition, David Beckham and his wife Victoria chose UNICEF to be one of the beneficiaries of their ‘Full length and Fabulous Party’ held on 21 May 2006, with funds raised going to support this campaign.

In his ongoing support for UNICEF, Mr. Beckham travelled to Sierra Leone in 2008 to bring attention to the country’s dire child survival conditions. His visit supported the launch of UNICEF 2008 State of the World’s Children Report, which focused on child mortality and brought worldwide coverage to the issue. Additionally, his trip to South Africa in 2009 highlighted the progress being made on limiting the transmission of mother to child HIV. 

Mr. Beckham’s support for UNICEF’s emergency work has included a visit to the Philippines in 2013 helping to launch the appeal for Typhoon Haiyan, where he met children and families affected by the disaster, in which 1.7million children were displaced and many lost their lives. The following year, he recorded a video message backing UNICEF’s fight to beat Ebola and was broadcast across Sierra Leone, one of the worst affected countries, reaching 2 million people.

Alongside his footballing career, he has established the David Beckham Soccer Academy in London and Los Angeles to focus on developing the skills of young players.

Following his retirement from a glittering 20 year career, he marked his 10th year as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador by launching 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund 7.org in February 2015. The fund aims to help protect millions of children around the world from danger and create lasting positive change. It is his personal commitment to use his powerful global voice, influence and connections to raise vital funds and advocate for change for children across every region of the world and in every aspect of UNICEF’s work for children.

In September this year, Mr. Beckham joined United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, and two young people from UNICEF Voices of Youth initiative to unveil a unique digital installation bringing the voices of children and young people to the heart of the United Nations General Assembly, as the UN prepared to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals.

The installation, Assembly of Youth, harnesses mobile technology (via U-Report) and social media to deliver personal messages from children and young people across the globe directly to world leaders. The messages highlight the challenges they face in their homes and communities – and express their hopes for the future. Following his recent trip to Cambodia, where he met with victims of child violence and abuse, Mr. Beckham urged world leaders to listen to these messages – and to take action – to transform the lives of millions of children by putting the most disadvantaged children and young people at the centre of all decisions and investments in the new 15-year development agenda.

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