In collaboration with Bogota City Council, Cali City Council and the Colombian government, the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), FIFA and Coca-Cola have joined forces to donate approximately $1.1m USD to 1,400 children in both cities. The donation will be channelled through the Colombianitos Foundation in Bogota and the SIDOC Foundation in Cali.

Bogota, 16 August 2011. With the cooperation of the Colombian government, FIFA and Coca-Cola, the Inter-American Development Bank today unveiled the Football for Hope programme, which will provide support to 1,400 underprivileged children aged between five and 18 and living in the neighbourhoods of Ciudad Bolivar in Bogota and Comuna 20 in Cali.

Drawing on the support on the ground of Bogota City Council, Cali City Council and the Colombian government, and with the assistance of the Colombianitos Foundation in Bogota and the SIDOC Foundation in Cali, local children will have the opportunity to play football in their free-time and start their life projects, develop social skills, lead a healthy lifestyle and acquire social values.

A team of psychologists, social workers and physical education instructors will be on hand to identify and tackle the problems afflicting these communities such as drugs, juvenile delinquency and domestic violence. The work they carry out will indirectly benefit over 5,000 people, including parents, other family members and neighbours.

Through the programme and the sport of football, some 700 children in Ciudad Bolivar will be introduced to a new lifestyle that offers an alternative to the dangers of the street and the violence to which they are routinely exposed. By also playing football another 700 youngsters in Comuna 20 will develop the skills they need to live together and resolve conflict by peaceful means.

In speaking on behalf of the IDB, Ana Maria Rodriguez, the head of its Institutional Capacity and Finance Sector, expressed the organisation’s satisfaction at supporting an initiative that will be rigorously assessed and which harnesses the ability of football to nurture the skills and values youngsters need to get along better. She also pointed to FOOTBALL FOR HOPE’s additional objective of raising awareness throughout the region as to the reasons why and how the sport is an excellent tool for helping youngsters to live together and for preventing violent behaviour.

“Thanks to the role it performs, its values, popularity and its universal appeal, football has a major responsibility to society as a whole,” said Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “It is a pleasure for FIFA to join forces with committed organisations and to support programmes that promote togetherness, social integration and access to health and education services for children and youngsters in disadvantaged areas of Colombia.”

“Ciudad Bolivar and Comuna 20 are deprived neighbourhoods where social problems have been identified and which impact on violence and crime rates,” commented Ricardo Cortes, Coca-Cola’s Director for the Andean Region. “The children who live in these areas have no sports facilities they can use or access to recreational programmes encouraging them to adopt a healthy way of life. Through FOOTBALL FOR HOPE we aim to make a difference and it is our pledge to develop these vulnerable communities by promoting active lifestyles, which are an essential component of our global platform Live Positively.”