As FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke recently pointed out, the Volunteer Programme for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ has already attracted more applications than any of its predecessors.
The selection process, which has been open for the last two weeks at FIFA.com, is now set to attract even more candidates, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Organising Committee (LOC) having decided to extend it.
“We attracted 110,000 applications in 15 days, and although that’s already well above our initial target of 90,000, we can see that there’s an awful lot of interest, which is why we want to give others more time to apply,” commented LOC Management Board member Ronaldo.
“A high number of applicants is a guarantee that we’ll have the very best volunteers in place to welcome fans and delegations from all over the world in 2013 and 2014,” he added.
“It’s important to point out that when we speak about the ‘best’ volunteers we’re not referring to the number of languages they speak or their professional qualifications,” said the LOC’s Volunteer Programme Director Rodrigo Hermida.
“The first thing we’re looking for in a FIFA World Cup volunteer is motivation and a willingness to help others,” he continued. “We also want to showcase the diversity of our country and make sure that people from different social backgrounds form part of our team, along with the disabled.”
In its bid to ensure that as many Brazilians register as possible, the LOC is being supported by the 12 FIFA World Cup Host Cities and Coca-Cola’s Colectivo project, which offers preparatory back-to-work courses in the country’s most disadvantaged communities. In total, some 83 collectives are being supported in the 12 cities, where information posters are on display and public access terminals have been set up.
“I’m starting as a customer service intern next week. I think being a volunteer will stand me in good stead for dealing with the public and will be a plus point on my CV,” said 18-year-old applicant Juliana Quintanilha, who hails from the neighbourhood of Rocha, in the north of Rio de Janeiro, and goes to school in the district of Morro dos Macacos. Juliana was told about the Volunteer Programme by her teacher and registered along with three of her school mates.
In Sao Paulo, meanwhile, the state government has been encouraging local people to sign up through the Acessa SP digital inclusion programme. A banner advertisement went up on the programme’s website and 682 internet access points have been set up for people without a computer or access to the net.
“I think it’s important to help people out, and I’m going to have the chance to meet people from all over Brazil and the world,” said student Lucas Patudo on receiving information on the programme at an access point situated in the Parque da Juventude, in north Sao Paulo. The governments of the states of Bahia and Parana have also launched similar initiatives.
The drive to attract disabled people to the Programme began on day one, meanwhile. Speaking at the launch event on 21 August, lawyer Danielle Gilson described her experiences as a volunteer at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008, in Rio de Janeiro.
“To my mind the role of physically challenged volunteers is to show that they can make just as big a contribution as anyone else,” said Danielle, who lost most of the movement in her legs when she was 19 and now has to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around.
As of 11am on Wednesday, 819 disabled people had applied to the Volunteer Programme for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. Some 47 percent of all candidates are women, while the best-represented age group is 16-25 year-olds with 56,103 applicants.
In terms of states, Sao Paulo leads the way with 27,921 applications, followed by Rio de Janeiro (16,264), Minas Gerais (10,865), Bahia (7,311) and Rio Grande do Sul (6,372). People from 130 countries outside Brazil have registered for the programme, with Colombia out front with 673 applications in total.
To apply to the Volunteer Programme, simply click on the “Brasil 2014 - Voluntários“ link on the right of this page.