FIFA’s support of football-related social development programmes is by no means restricted to the African continent, with the 20 Centres for 2010 campaign forming just part of the globally active Football for Hope initiative.
Launched by FIFA in 2005, Football for Hope is an initiative contributing to social development around the world. Support is provided to selected programmes run by non-governmental organisations that use football as a tool in their daily work to engage children and young people.
This year, more than 150,000 children and young people are expected to benefit directly from 63 projects whose funding requests have been approved for a total amount of $1.6m USD. All 63 went through a rigorous selection process in which applicants had to demonstrate the long-term sustainability of their projects.
Organisations seeking funding also have to be legally registered and non-discriminatory, and must also have raised funds themselves which are at least equal to the amount being sought from Football for Hope.
Most of the 63 programmes approved for 2013 can be found in South America and Africa (17 projects each), while there are ten each in Asia and in North and Central America and the Caribbean, eight in Europe and one in Oceania.
The vast majority of the projects being funded this year are being operated by long-time Football for Hope collaborators, such as Spirit of Soccer (SoS) – a programme which helps an estimated 35,000 youngsters each year in Iraq, Cambodia and Laos, with a special focus on educating local young people about the dangers of land mines and other unexploded remnants of war.
Three new additions to Football for Hope are also set to receive FIFA’s support in 2013, all of them based, coincidentally, in the Americas.
In Costa Rica, the Organización Juvenil Recrearte plans to educate 150 young people under the catchphrase “We play fair on the pitch, in school and my community”. The project workers will focus on using football to teach respect for women and to end bullying and violence amongst teenagers in San José and in the northern province of Alajuela, where many have experienced neglect and even abuse from within their own families.
In the USA, the organisation Soccer Without Borders aims to help 942 young people through its use of football as a tool for helping the integration of disadvantaged and refugee children. The programme, which offers a combination of football tournaments, life-skills workshops, cultural exchanges and team-building exercises, is already underway in three US cities, with the extra funds now being used to expand into four more and hire additional staff.
Aiming to help 480 youngsters, Brazil’s Instituto Fazer Acontecer (Make it Happen Institute) is a street football charity based in the semi-arid state of Bahia, which helps young people from low-income families to develop values like team work, discipline, solidarity, respect and social commitment and to tackle important issues like drug abuse, violence and sexual equality. It will use the Football for Hope funding to take football events to 18 different cities in Bahia, and to encourage young people to press the state government to include more sport in their education programmes.
Commenting on the latest project approvals, Federico Addiechi, Head of FIFA Corporate Social Responsibility said: “Football is perhaps unique in its ability to touch the life of children and young people across borders, cultures, ethnicities and religions all over the world, and it is encouraging to see the high-quality programmes to which FIFA can lend its support through Football for Hope.”