The Namibian government has pledged its support to FIFA’s '11 for Health' programme, which has already reached 10,000 children and will continue to be rolled out in the African country next year.
'11 for Health' was launched in Namibia in 2011 and was adopted in around 240 schools throughout the nation, with that success leading world football’s governing body to commit to further expansion.
Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer, confirmed that FIFA will now fund the second phase of the programme, which will target a further 300 schools with support from the government.
Prof. Dvorak met Dr. Abraham Iyambo and Dr. Richard Kamwi, Education Minister and Health Minister for Namibia respectively, last week to receive an update on the programme’s implementation.
“This programme adds value to education and health and we are impressed with the success of this programme in Namibia, and we need government to also reflect on the success of it and help us make it sustainable,” said Prof. Dvorak.
“We need to seal this partnership as soon as possible – we don’t have time to waste anymore. We need to make this programme sustainable and so we need to come up with strategy.”
Gratitude in Namibia
Both ministers offered glowing praise in that regard, with Dr. Iyambo – who was officiating when the first of the programme’s graduation ceremonies was held in Katutura last year – inviting FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter to see the progress for himself.
“We are happy to know that the program is continuing well and our government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, are committed to see the value and benefits of this programme,” he commented.
“We are very grateful to FIFA and its President Sepp Blatter for this intervention. To Mr. Blatter, please do come and visit Namibia one day to witness the children and appreciate how their lives have been changed through this programme.
“The government will continue to support the NFA [Namibian Football Association] and we are proud to have the future of this country changing their attitude towards living healthy.”
Dr. Kamwi added: “This could have not come at a more opportune time than this. FIFA’s target with this programme is spot on – children, education and health.
“Football can play a big role in a healthy child. Our nation is the children and we are grateful that FIFA through this will compliment whatever we have and much more.
“We are all candidates to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and many others and as a country we are making progress but we need more and so thank you FIFA for the efforts.”
The next stage of the programme’s development in Namibia will see all of the relevant parties – FIFA, government and the NFA – agree on a strategy paper with a view to moving forward.