Eight years ago, FIFA launched the Football for Hope programme to help the world’s most popular game bring about positive change in the lives of young people. Funding, equipment and training have been offered around the world in order to help people make a real difference to their lives. Since 2005 it has assisted with more than 250 programmes in over 60 countries dealing with issues from HIV/AIDS education to conflict resolution.

Wanting to create a tangible social legacy for South Africa 2010, FIFA launched the campaign of ’20 Centres for 2010’ in 2007. Its aim was to create 20 Football for Hope Centres for education, public health and football across Africa. The importance of this legacy is highlighted by the fact that many communities on the Mother Continent continue to face serious social challenges

With the official opening of the Alexandra Football for Hope Centre in South Africa, the Host Country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, FIFA is nearing completion of this regional legacy campaign. But the story does not end there.

As a result of the campaign, the centres have already been able to improve education and health services for over 70,000 young people in disadvantaged communities in 16 countries across Africa. Indeed, hundreds of thousands more youngsters will benefit from the centres in the years to come, showing the power football has in terms of social development.

"Before the Football for Hope Centre was here, I would see kids mainly hanging out on the streets," said a health academy counsellor at one of the Football for Hope Centres. "But since it was built, there haven’t been so many kids loitering around.

"The centre is a place where they can go and learn about being healthy and safe. Some come here for help with school assignments, to play games, to do arts and crafts, learn how to play chess, and so the clinic has become something more than just a health centre."

The pride of the community
Community involvement and ownership is crucial for the success and sustainability of the centres. Local communities have been involved in the entire process from the very first step, including the architectural design for the centre, construction and, whenever possible, the involvement of the local workforce and skill-building programmes. Over 600 local coaches have been trained to deliver programmes and 60 full-time managers, education officers, and health officers have been hired for the centres.

Each centre consists of a building with rooms to provide informal education, and public health services, office space, common space for community gatherings, and a small-size artificial turf pitch.

"FIFA is passionate about embracing the popularity of football to improve the lives of young people," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "As football becomes a bigger economic and social force in the world, it is vital that we ensure the beautiful game plays its part in building a better future for all."

The 20 centres are based in Bujumbura (Burundi), Bamako (Mali), Santiago (Cape Verde Islands), Cape Coast (Ghana), Mamfe (Cameroon), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lubumbashi (Congo DR), Nairobi (Kenya), Kigali (Rwanda), Iringa (Tanzania), Manica (Mozambique), Windhoek (Namibia), Ramotswa (Botswana), Luveve (Zimbabwe), Maseru (Lesotho), Khayelitsha, Alexandra, Qwaqwa, Mogalakwena, Edendale (all South Africa).

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