FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke was joined by Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo and Brazil 2014 Organising Committee (LOC) Management Board member Ronaldo in Cuiaba on Wednesday, as he witnessed the roll-out of a “FIFA 11 For Health” project with 24 students from the Maria Ambrosio Pommot Municipal School.
It proved to be quite an occasion for the more than 300 children looking on, who were thrilled to be in the presence of the legendary striker, part of the Brazil side that clinched the country’s fifth world crown.
“I am very happy to see the World Cup legacy reach out to more than 4,000 children in Brazil through the ‘11 For Health’ programme,” Valcke said. “It’s very rewarding to see these youngsters having fun as they learn about health and citizenship through football.” The project aims to reach 7,000 children before the end of the year.
The “FIFA 11 For Health” programme, which was created by the world football’s governing body and launched during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, is being implemented at 121 elementary schools in Brazil 2014’s 12 Host Cities. The children taking part are aged between 11 and 12.
“This project was created by FIFA with the idea of using football as a tool for getting important health messages across to children,” explained Andre Pedrinelli, one of the LOC’s medical supervisors. “We’ve seen in our pilot project in Curitiba that the message has got through to some 40 percent of children, which is a very positive number.”
“This project is a challenge because of the size and diversity of our country, but it’s also a source of great joy because it promotes some very important values to children,” Manoel Flores said, who is heading up the project for the Brazilian Football Association (CBF). “I am sure that this will be one of the finest legacies of the World Cup.”
Aside from FIFA, the LOC and the CBF, the participation and commitment of the local authorities and the Brazilian Ministry of Sport are also essential to the success of the programme.
“The 11 local schools involved in the project, which is so important for football and health, are represented at this symbolic event,” commented the Mayor of Cuiaba Mauro Mendes, who was joined by the Governor of Mato Grosso Silval Barbosa in welcoming the delegation to the school.
FIFA World Cup partners Johnson & Johnson are supporting FIFA by promoting the importance of healthy habits through the “FIFA 11 For Health” programme. The company has taken upon itself to provide a significant amount of material for all the schools involved in the programme, including shirts for instructors and bibs, balls and posters for the children, which they can take home with them to spread the message to other people. This is just one of the many aspects of the extensive health campaign that Johnson & Johnson is running as part of its commercial partnership with the FIFA World Cup.