It all started in 2005, with a “Football for Hope” solidarity match organised for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Since then, FIFA’s Football for Hope programme has grown into a comprehensive social development initiative which harnesses football’s huge potential and supports a broad range of community organisations all around the world that work with football to bring about social change.
FIFA is now celebrating the ten-year anniversary of its flagship social initiative. Since its launch, Football for Hope has provided funding for 450 programmes run by 170 NGOs in 78 different countries. In Africa, 20 Football for Hope Centres were built in cooperation with local organisations to provide them with much-needed facilities for the services they offer young people and their communities.
In Brazil, FIFA sought out NGOs that use football for social change and increased the number of NGOs it supports from five to 27 across the country. Over the past decade, FIFA has been able to serve hundreds of communities and hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. A total of USD $56m has been invested by FIFA into the programme, which focuses on helping young people improve their own lives and prospects and the lives and prospects of those around them.
Football for Hope has shown how the power and popularity of the beautiful game can make a difference in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our days.
“We look back on ten years of Football for Hope with pride, but the work is far from over. We are fully aware of this and will do everything within our power to meet our responsibilities, for the next decade and many years thereafter,” said FIFA President Blatter, who reflected on ten years of Football for Hope in his FIFA Weekly column.
Education on HIV/AIDS, conflict resolution, gender equality, integration of people with intellectual disabilities into society, peace building, youth leadership and life skills are just some of the many social development objectives that have been pursued.
In addition to supporting projects financially and with equipment, FIFA has used the platform of the FIFA World Cup™ to organise the Football for Hope Festival which brings together young community leaders from around the world to exchange best practices, play football and enjoy the tournament together.
Another important element of this programme is the Football for Hope Forum, where the world’s leading professionals in the field come together to discuss issues related to the use of football as a tool for development. The most recent forum was organised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.
For 2015 and 2016, FIFA has already committed to support 116 projects across the globe through Football for Hope for a total amount of USD $5.9m. All projects went through a rigorous selection process in which applicants had to demonstrate their long-term sustainability so that FIFA can ensure that it only supports and works with community projects that are sustainable, accountable and truly of benefit to the communities they serve.