The Official Campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, 20 Centres for 2010, is now well underway. Created as a result of the partnership between FIFA and streetfootballworld, the initiative aims to harness the power of football to bring about positive social change in Africa, and involves the construction of 20 Football for Hope Centres across the continent. These centres will be devoting their resources to areas such as public health, education and the game of football itself.
Following on from Khayelitsha in South Africa, it is the turn of the Malian town of Baguineda to start work on its Football for Hope Centre. And as Sampon Kablan, FIFA's Goal Project Coordinator, pointed out at a ceremony to celebrate the occasion, the objective remains the same: "To build a better future".
Situated on the banks of the River Niger, Baguineda lies about 30 miles outside Mali's capital of Bamoko. Work on the town's new Centre began on 24 September, and the day was marked by a colourful show laid on by the local women, with the town's youngsters also demonstrating their considerable football skills.
Heralding the start of the project, Kablan said the Centre would be built "for and in cooperation with disadvantaged communities". In collaboration with the Malian Association for Young Women and Girls (AMPJF), it will operate a health education programme and provide support for the local health clinic. In addition, the Centre will also offer remedial classes for youngsters having difficulties at school as well as an effective literacy scheme. And as you might expect, football will be taking centre stage, with activities available for young girls.
"The AMPJF's initiatives with young women and girls plays a very important part in promoting gender equality," added Kablan. "Its work across all cultures and generations is also vital to social integration in the town and in reducing conflict. These are the reasons why Football for Hope is supporting and working with this organisation in Mali."
The future would seem to be bright for Football for Hope in Mali, and the media coverage the project has so far received says much about the expectations it is raising across Africa. With the foundation stone having been laid in the Malian soil, those expectations will soon become a reality.