Johan Cruyff Foundation, Pelé Foundation and UEFA Foundation for Children collaborate to create a safe place to play in Santos.

Johan Cruyff Foundation, Pelé Foundation and UEFA Foundation for Children collaborate to create a safe place to play in Santos.

The global initiative giving packaging a new purpose brings a new pitch to IztapalapaThis new facility is the 300th Cruyff Court worldwide and will havea huge impact on a vulnerable community.

The Johan Cruyff Foundation has just opened the Cruyff Court Pelé in Santos (São Paulo, Brazil) in a touching ceremony that paid tribute to two footballing legends. This new facility, the 300th Cruyff Court worldwide, marks a milestone for the charity and is set to have a significant impact in Dique da Vila Gilda, one of the city’s most socially vulnerable neighborhoods. Susila Cruyff, the daughter of Johan Cruyff and board member of the Cruyff Foundation, attended the opening, which was a festive and enthusiastic celebration of the favela that saw local kids take part in a football match.

Santos, home to Santos FC – one of Brazil’s most storied clubs, where Pelé and other greats of the game plied their trade – was chosen as the setting for the latest Cruyff Court. The result of a collaboration between the Cruyff Foundation, the UEFA Foundation for Children and the Pelé Foundation, the new facility will cater to children and young people from local neighborhoods who are directly affected by the lack of socio-educational activities in the favela, which is the largest stilt community in Latin America.

Susila Cruyff spoke about how the Cruyff Court Pelé will benefit kids and youngsters for whom sport is not a guaranteed part of life: “My father always had a special connection with Pelé, and it’s either through luck or coincidence that we’re here opening the 300th Cruyff Court in their names. Both came from a similar background, they started playing on the streets, they were self-made footballers and still live on in people’s memories as legends. They can be a great inspiration for this area. We believe this court could be a life-changing experience for these kids and something positive for the community.”

Joe Fraga, Pele’s agent and a representative of the Pelé Foundation, said: “The opportunities the Cruyff Court Pelé will bring to this community, and more specifically the children of Santos, will continue to cement the amazing legacy of two of the greatest players in history. The bond between Johan and Edson [Pelé] is as strong as ever with this 300th court. The Pelé Foundation is honored to partner with the Cruyff Foundation on this very special and inspiring project.”

Urs Kluser, General Secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children, said: “The UEFA Foundation for Children is very proud to support the Johan Cruyff Foundation with the opening of its 300th pitch. Like the previous ones [this is the fifth supported by the UEFA Foundation], the pitch is a great support for the community and the children who will have a safe place to play. At the same time, this pitch is special, not only because it is the 300th court, but also because it will represent the names of two legends in Cruyff and Pelé.”

Both of these iconic players learned all about the game on the streets, which will serve as a huge inspiration to local children who use the facility in the future. Cruyff believed in the considerable power of sport and its influence on the development of children and young people. Indeed, those beliefs are at the heart of his foundation, an organisation that is committed to creating spaces for children from all over the world to develop physically, mentally, and socially, as it builds alliances with like-minded local partners.

A Cruyff Court is a social platform that uses sport and Johan Cruyff’s 14 rules to provide children and young people with integral development, inclusion, and citizenship training and an opportunity to broaden their prospects for a balanced socio-affective future, based on respectful relationships developed in a safe environment.


About this project

The Cruyff Foundation runs projects in more than 20 countries worldwide. The Cruyff Court Pelé marks the milestone 300th Cruyff Court in the world and the fourth in Brazil. In this particular project, 14 local coaches received training to become Cruyffian coaches during a two-day course held on 6/7 December that taught them all about Johan Cruyff’s philosophy, including the 14 rules that they can use to motivate the kids.

This project sees the Cruyff Foundation partner with the Instituto Plataforma Brasil (IPB), a non-profit civil society organisation that encourages young people to take on leading roles in transforming the communities where they live. “It is a dream come true to be able to give the community this space to enjoy, to play in, and to forget for a moment all the challenges of daily life. To offer the best possible facility to those who need it most provokes a movement of change that has the Cruyff Court as a starting point and expands from there on. That way, it is possible to contribute to the personal development of the kids of the community and a more just society. That is wonderful!” said Joëlke Offringa, IPB president.

The Johan Cruyff Foundation also linked up with the Instituto Arte no Dique, which is also a not-for-profit civil society institution that has been carrying out major sociocultural work with the population of Dique da Vila Gilda since 2002. Other local partners are COHAB Santista, the Vopak We Connect Foundation, and local companies Signify, AkzoNobel, and Parque Balneário Hotel Santos.



Football for cultural inclusion at UEFA Super Cup

Football for cultural inclusion at UEFA Super Cup

The UEFA Foundation for Children will emphasise integration through football to make our world a more tolerant and welcoming place.

The UEFA Foundation for Children will once again use this year’s UEFA Super Cup match to raise awareness of important social issues, prioritising in particular the right of the child. Since it was established in 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children has become a key presence at the UEFA Super Cup, demonstrating that football, and sport in general, has a positive impact on children and can change the outlook of even the most vulnerable.

While the UEFA Champions League title holder Manchester City FC and the UEFA Europa League winner Sevilla FC will fight for one more trophy at this year’s UEFA Super Cup in Piraeus, Greece, the UEFA Foundation will carry a message of cultural inclusion and social integration.

In close collaboration with partner organisations such as Action Aid Hellas, FC Cosmos and A Ball for All, children that have been affected by societal exclusion in one way or another - from victims of global conflict to those battling physical impairments - will take part in unforgettable experiences around this year’s match.

Activities around the UEFA Super Cup in Piraeus will include:

1.  On Tuesday 15 August, a selection of children will visit the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium to watch Sevilla and Manchester City’s official training sessions. They will have the opportunity to meet with players, participate in a kickabout session and take photographs with both teams.

2. At the fan festival on the Town Hall square in Piraeus, on Wednesday 16 August, children will play in a football match alongside legends from Greece’s historic 2004 EURO-winning team. They will also take part in challenges and will have the opportunity to have their photos taken with the former Greek football legends and the UEFA Super Cup trophy.

3. As part of the UEFA Super Cup’s opening ceremony, Mastercard will offer 16 player mascots positions to young children from Action Aid Hellas, FC Cosmos and A Ball for All who will proudly enter the pitch accompanied by the star player of the match. Older children will also play a key role in the opening ceremony, acting as central circle carriers.

These activities seek to act as a reminder of football's profound capacity to instil values such as commitment, discipline, mutual aid, respect, and tolerance. It serves as a powerful testament to the fact that football has the extraordinary ability to foster profound connections among individuals, transcending geographical and cultural barriers.

Sevilla FC midfielder Ivan Rakitić, who is playing in his third UEFA Super Cup final this year, serves as a proud ambassador for the Foundation and echoes this sentiment. Having played alongside teammates from every corner of the globe during his illustrious career, Rakitić offers a poignant reflection:

There’s no room for discrimination in football or any other sport. We’re all against it, players and clubs support each other, and we’re trying to move towards a safe environment for everyone.




Location and general information

Location 15 regions of Ukraine
Start date 01/01/2023
End date 12/31/2023
Cost of the project €267,628
Foundation funding €125,000
Project identifier 20220528
Partners The Charity Found "Around Football”
Categories Access to Sport - Children with disabilities - Conflict victims - Healthy lifestyle - Personal development


Children, affected by war, experienced fear, are withdrawn, and psychologically stressed. And sport is one of the tools that can provide psychosocial support to such children.

Project goals

  • Create a network of professional volunteers (managers, coaches, medical and psychological volunteers) in 15 regions of Ukraine.
  • Conduct training for the teams of specialists: briefings by instructors, child protection courses.
  • Conduct psychosocial sessions for children and youth.

Project content

The main purpose of the project is provision of targeted psychosocial support to children and teenagers, affected by war. This support will be provided through sport activities. A network of trained teams of specialists (managers, sport coaches, medical volunteers, psychologists) will work with children, involve them in sport activities. Such form of work with children will help the direct beneficiaries to overcome fear and to return to normal life.


Football for Future

Location and general information

Location Urban areas of Ukraine: Kyiv, Irpin, Bucha, Svitlovodsk, Myrhorod, Rivne, Brovary, Kremenchuk
Start date 03/01/2022
End date 04/30/2024
Cost of the project €59,875
Foundation funding €53,460
Project identifier 20220924
Partners Shakhtar Social charity organisation
Categories Access to Sport - Conflict victims - Personal development


According to the Ukraine Internal Displacement Report produced by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there were 5,088,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine in May 2023. The report also indicates that:

  • 47% of IDPs are aged 5-17 years old;
  • 17% of IDP households lack access to education for their children.

Project goals

Football for Future is a social football project designed to promote inclusion and social cohesion, providing equal chances for 640 internally displaced children and socially disadvantaged kids to play football and get involved in extracurricular activities, providing relief from their circumstances.

Project content

The 640 children will be able to participate in free football sessions and local tournaments in eight cities around the country.

  • Free football sessions are run year-round and include physical exercises, fun games, educational personal training and football, three times a week for each participant.
  • Local tournaments are organised twice a year to unite all participants, enhancing their experience, enjoyment and connection within the local community.


Kick for Trade Festival

Location and general information

Location Basra, Iraq
Start date 12/01/2022
End date 06/30/2023
Cost of the project €110’814
Foundation funding €110’814
Project identifier 20220939
Partners Palestine: Sports for Life
Categories Access to Sport - Employability - Gender Equality - Personal development - Strengthening partnerships


Iraqi children have limited opportunities to take part in projects that support individual development and foster employability. This hinders them from becoming successful and engaged individuals and citizens. 

Project goals

  • Increase employment rates among young people in Basra. 
  • Promote young people’s life skills, personal development, employment opportunities and entrepreneurship 
  • Increase the leadership skills of young leaders 
  • Improve the coaching skills of coaches 
  • Provide an inclusive environment and access to sports for ethnic minorities 

Project content

The Kick for Trade Festival is an expression of the successes of the K4T programme and has sport at its heart. 

The K4T project applies a unique approach to tackling youth unemployment by engaging young people through football. Sport acts as an entry point, offering a safe space for learning and personal development, leading on to further engagement in vocational programmes and entrepreneurship opportunities. Young people are linked to potential investors and employers from the Iraqi private sector through entrepreneurial and employability activities using Kick for Trade teams and tools.  

Football3 and the Kick for Trade curriculum sessions include adapted-rules football matches that enable the youngsters to develop and implement transferable skills that are relevant for employment, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, self-discipline and resilience. The sessions are for children and young people from ethnic minorities and from marginalised rural areas and disadvantaged districts of Basra. 


Sport youth inspiring the future – Line Up, Live Up

Location and general information

Location Chui, Naryn, Issyk-Kul and Talas oblasts, Kyrgyzstan
Start date 12/01/2022
End date 06/30/2023
Cost of the project €50 000
Foundation funding €50 000
Project identifier 20220786
Partners Institute for Youth Development
Categories Access to Sport - Healthy lifestyle - Personal development


According to the Kyrgyzstan National Statistical Committee, the country had 1.6 million young people aged 14–28 in 2018, of which 51% were men and 49% women.

The Kyrgyz Republic has a young population, with over a quarter between 14 and 28. Some 70% of young people live in rural districts. There is an urgent need for more extracurricular activities, mostly in rural regions. Getting children to try a broad range of sports at an early age with specialist coaching would boost the culture of sport in Kyrgyzstan.

Project goals

1) Improve the behaviour of young people through involvement in football and sport in general

2) Promote sport and healthy lifestyles among young people

3) Encourage marginalised and potentially antisocial young people to try sport

Project content

Our focus is on rural regions in northern Kyrgyzstan, for a target audience of young people aged 14–16 who are just finding their way in society, forming communities of interest and thinking about their futures.

1) Liaising with youth specialists from the regional education department to identify the schools and regions with the greatest need

2) Educating trainers to deliver the ‘Get into life’ programme in Bishkek

3) Recruiting 150–300 participants to form 16 football teams

4) Organising an inter-regional tournament in four locations

5) Holding a major tournament in Bishkek


KIFUMPA – Girls United

Location and general information

Location Lubumbashi, Katanga region, Democratic Republic of Congo
Start date 01/09/2023
End date 06/30/2024
Cost of the project €138000
Foundation funding €75000
Project identifier 20220560
Partners Play for Change UK charitable trust
Categories Access to Sport - Employability - Healthy lifestyle - Infrastructure and equipment - Personal development


Lubumbashi is the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the country’s mining capital. Political instability, corruption and violence are rife, including widespread attacks against civilians, fighting between ethnic factions, sexual violence and murder. The country is also plagued by malnutrition, easily treatable but highly infectious, deadly diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness, the world’s second highest rate of infant mortality and high maternal mortality.

Widely considered an economic resource, families tend to have many children (often more than ten) but lack the resources to support them. Many children are thus abandoned and find themselves living on the street, perpetuating cycles of theft, crime, drugs and violence.

Child brides, young mothers and sexual violence against adolescent girls and young women are commonplace.

Project goals

Educational inclusion: Increase participation in school activities and reduce school dropout rates

Gender equality: Break down gender barriers and develop mutual respect

Educational capacities: Train educators and coaches

Basic skills: Promote awareness of participants' own aptitudes, enhance their relational, emotional, motor and cognitive skills, and help girls in particular to better plan their futures

Health and well-being: Improve the health and well-being of minors through access to clean water, food, sanitation, education, etc.

Sport: Encourage participation in sport, in particular football, especially among girls

Safe spaces: Guarantee access to safe spaces and solutions tailored to the needs of minors

In numbers:

  • 36 trained technical and educational staff
  • 450 students
  • 10 schools involved in workshops
  • 40 girls involved in pre-academy activities
  • 1,000 street children reached by awareness campaigns

Project content

Launched in January 2023, the KIFUMPA (=a Swahili word meaning ball of rugs) project comprises six activities in four categories.

Awareness campaigns

PROXIMITY/SCOUTING CAMPAIGNS: Five evening visits to neighbourhoods where street girls live, to promote the educational and sporting activities available.

COMMUNITY EVENT: Open access concerts and theatre in an area of the city frequented by street children to break down the cultural barriers and stereotypes surrounding activities typically considered to be “for men”.

Staff training

An introduction to values-based training and the importance of identifying and addressing children’s frailties and educational needs during sports activities, helping coaches to support young players’ holistic growth and teaching educators to promote gender equality, resilience and teamwork.

School workshops

A four-hour educational and recreational workshop for 10 schools, using football and art to promote gender equality, inclusion, teamwork and sport among 10 to 14-year-olds.

Education and sport

SUMMER CAMPS: Three weeks of educational and recreational sports activities at the end of the school year, in June and July 2023, as an introduction to the pre-academy.

PRE-ACADEMY: Educational and football courses from September 2023 (5hrs of language classes, 5hrs of maths, 15hrs of general culture and 5hrs of football each week) on the premises of the Futuka men's academy (pending completion of the Msichana Football Academy).


Refugee Youth Empowerment

Location and general information

Location Penang, Malaysia
Start date 01/01/2023
End date 12/31/2024
Cost of the project €23,839
Foundation funding €23,839
Project identifier 20220154
Partners Persatuan Komuniti Berdikari (also known as ASPIRE Penang and Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign)
Categories Access to Sport - Conflict victims - Infrastructure and equipment - Personal development


In Malaysia, young refugees often live in an environment that offers few opportunities for recreation, education or social interaction. The Malaysian government provides no legal or administrative framework to protect or support refugees. Instead, it has invited the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to verify, register and resettle refugees, based on the concept that refugees are simply in transit. However, the severe lack of resettlement places means that refugees end up staying in Malaysia for decades, without access to mainstream education and protection at work and few safeguards against extortion, harassment, arrest and detention. Consequently, women, men and young people often feel helpless and without hope, as their opportunities in Malaysia are very limited and the chances of resettlement slim.

Project goals

1. Significantly increase opportunities for young refugees to learn about and engage in organised activities, including sports and other recreation, and to acquire life skills

2. Build teamwork, responsibility, decision-making and leadership skills through participants’ ‘ownership’ of project planning and management

3. Improve prospects by learning vocational and life skills

Project content

Over a two-year period, this project will offer young refugees in Penang greater opportunities to engage in activities that bring hope and positivity: an organised football project for boys, other culturally appropriate recreational activities for girls, and life skills classes in language and computer literacy. These are skills the young refugees themselves have identified as critical for their future. In the football programmes, the players themselves will be responsible for all aspects of team management, which will build a sense of ownership, leadership and responsibility. In the other parts of the project, the young people will play a key role in initiating and directing activities.


U14 football programme boys One practice session + one match a week
U19 football programme boys One practice session + one match a week
Girls’ recreational activity Frequency to be determined
Computer classes Once a week at weekends (note: young refugees are only available for classes at weekends)
English classes Once a week at weekends (note: young refugees are only available for classes at weekends)


Reintegration to school through sport

Location and general information

Location Batticaloa, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka
Start date 02/01/2023
End date 07/31/2023
Cost of the project €20,285,00
Foundation funding €20,300
Project identifier 20220861
Partners Street Child
Categories Access to Sport - Healthy lifestyle - Infrastructure and equipment - Personal development


In Sri Lanka, many children have endured the negative effects of isolation and a lack of social interaction over the last three years due to COVID-19 school closures and now the severe economic crisis. These events will have a long-term impact on the country, with the effect that many children will be left behind. It is difficult for children to acquire essential life skills without spending significant amounts of time with their peers. The well-being of young people is a major concern. Students with irregular school attendance fall far behind in class and often drop out.

Project goals

Active participation in sport develops both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, offering students a holistic learning experience and producing well-rounded individuals. The objectives of the project are to: (i) reintegrate students into school with a positive attitude, in classroom settings that encourage student retention, and (ii) introduce regular sporting activity in schools to encourage consistent social interaction.

Project content

In total, 900 students will benefit from improved PE classes with football lessons.

Some 18 teachers at six schools will receive two months of training from experienced educators in active learning practices, in particular how to create, manage and deliver sports-based learning in the classroom.

Furthermore, 180 students will benefit from a two-month training programme for six community football teams. This will feature football training, after-school football sessions and weekly inter-school matches.

The data gathered during the impact assessment process will be used by Street Child to produce reports to be distributed both locally (to schools, partners and stakeholders) and internationally. Street Child will share the results with its offices in other countries and local partners, identifying the strengths of the model and promoting its replication where appropriate.


Play to prevent

Location and general information

Location Oruro, Bolivia
Start date 01/15/2023
End date 01/15/2024
Cost of the project €97,192,00
Foundation funding €80,000
Project identifier 20221105
Partners ChildFund Bolivia
Categories Access to Sport - Gender Equality - Infrastructure and equipment - Personal development


Oruro in Bolivia has a population of over half a million, mainly in its eponymous capital city. Bolivia is one of South America's poorest countries and, as the urban population of Oruro has grown due to internal migration, there has not been universal access to basic services such as health, education and decent housing. The city also suffers from distressing levels of domestic violence.

The children who take part in the project are highly vulnerable and come from deprived backgrounds. Many are from single-parent families and are often subject to physical, psychological and sexual abuse. In general, there are few opportunities for young people to do sport and engage in personal development.

Project goals

  1. Improve life skills and enhance violence prevention for 1,000 girls and 500 boys
  2. Train female and male teachers and coaches to promote violence prevention and gender equality through sport
  3. Introduce the Jugar para Prevenir methodology that offers a clear gender focus
  4. Support the city of Oruro’s football schools for both girls and boys through inclusion and equity methodologies

Project content

The project promotes ChildFund’s Jugar para Prevenir (Play to Prevent) method to improve the violence prevention skills of girls and boys and their coaches and teachers through sports. The project is introducing the methodology to ten schools including the Quirquincho Feliz football school for boys. The project also partners with the first football school for girls in Bolivia, Las Super Poderosas, implementing the Jugar para Prevenir methodology through specific activities for girls and female sports teachers.

The project will reach 1,000 girls, 500 boys and 20 football coaches in 10 schools.


Facing crisis through football in Colombia & Venezuela

Location and general information

Location Colombia (Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Vichada) and Venezuela (Caracas)
Start date 01/31/2023
End date 12/31/2023
Cost of the project €212,864
Foundation funding €99,864
Project identifier 20220558
Partners Inter Campus
Categories Access to Sport - Employability - Gender Equality - Healthy lifestyle - Personal development - Strengthening partnerships


Colombia and Venezuela are experiencing unprecedented economic crises, affecting in particular the most vulnerable: children, women and minorities. Thousands of young people and their families are facing food shortages, resulting in limited physical development and possibly also irreversible mental damage. This economic and social crisis is linked to acute political disorder, giving rise to insecurity, violence and corruption.

Project goals

The objective is to support children’s physical, mental and social health, providing them with cultural elements and a psychological structure to face threats prevalent in their communities.

Two main priorities have been identified:

1. Bridging a nutritional gap affecting children’s development

2. Countering a wave of violence caused by the socio-economic crisis, mainly as a result of drug production, distribution and consumption

Project content

There are three approaches:

1. Teach local coaches how to teach children team values: respect for the coaches, rules and referees; seeing opponents not as enemies but as partners; cooperating with other children; learning to make the most of their time in training and school activities; growing their skills and gaining self-confidence; getting stronger against adversities by learning how to deal with winning and losing; and how to fulfil their dreams by working hard; training even in bad weather; and learning how to overcome stress or aggressive instincts in a positive way.

2. Promote integration among people with different languages, cultures, and religions; reducing violence; gender equality and confidence-building.

3. The mere presence of the Inter brand will attract attention from volunteers, sponsors, local authorities, other social offices or NGOs and inspire them to help.

The project will last 24 months, based on weekly training sessions and periodical weekend matches, and involve 530 vulnerable children from 6 to 13 years old living in 11 different rural and urban contexts in Colombia and Venezuela.

The training will be run by local educators applying an innovative socio-sports methodology according to local needs. Weekly nutritional support will be given, by providing healthy, good-quality food normally not available to these children.

Local partners, the Fundación Crecer Jugando in Colombia and the Fundación Magallanes in Venezuela, will select and run the activities.

Twelve coaches will take part in a working group and learn to use the scientific tools used to asses children’s personality, as well as basic sports-related skills on social, emotional, cognitive issues.


Festival 23

Location and general information

Location Sydney, Australia
Start date 01/15/2023
End date 12/31/2023
Cost of the project €600,000
Foundation funding €80,000
Project identifier 20220520
Partners University of New South Wales, Football United programme
Categories Access to Sport - Employability - Environmental protection - Gender Equality - Personal development - Strengthening partnerships


Football United is a member of the Common Goal movement that unites 200 grassroots organisations that use football to promote social change, in areas such as gender equity, climate action, social inclusion and poverty reduction. An essential part of these organisations’ sustainability efforts is training and empowering youth to become leaders in the football for good (F4G) space, providing organisational sustainability, enabling the global movement to further develop and improving the impact of the F4G sector. F4G festivals enable such training opportunities.

Project goals

Festival 23 will build youth leader capacity to create positive social change in 25 communities throughout Australia with immediate practical engagement during the festival. Training from global experts will focus on the UN’s Global Goals to enhance the capacity of F4G organisations to achieve the objectives in health; education; access to sport; personal development; integration of minorities; and the protection of children’s rights.

Project content

Festival 23 will provide the social legacy for the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup. F4G festivals have been a way to build youth leadership capacity at every FIFA World Cup since 2006. Evaluations indicate participants increased their capacity to take on leadership roles in their respective communities after the event.

Festival 23 will bring up to 120 youth leaders from around the world together for ten days of capacity-building through F4G themed training alongside community engagement mechanisms and activities. Festival 23 is therefore a catalyst for progressive leadership development in F4G organisations, leveraging the immense power of mass football events.

1. Four days of capacity-building workshops by global experts in F4G, Global Goals themes relating to climate action, gender empowerment, health, education, employability, advocacy

2. Application of training as youth leaders will engage with 25 diverse, low socio-economic communities in football gala days

3. Fair-play tournament between teams comprising the youth leaders and Common Goal footballers

4. Increased engagement and application of acquired competencies in the participants’ home countries following Festival 23


This is How We Football

Location and general information

Location American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu
Start date 01/01/2023
End date 01/01/2024
Cost of the project €1,088,500
Foundation funding €190,000
Project identifier 20220628
Partners Oceania Football Confederation


Girls in the Pacific experience the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world. They also face discrimination and exclusion, with inequalities in education, decision-making processes, access to health services and opportunities to play sport. Some 70% of women and girls in the Pacific are insufficiently physically active, resulting in health issues and exclusion from the benefits of sport, including peer support, accessing new networks, leadership and other skills.

A co-design process was initiated with OFC member associations to develop female participation programmes that would meet the needs of girls and create a safe, sustainable environment to develop female footballers.

Project goals

  • Change perceptions among boys, girls, women and men involved in football
  • Empower young people to be leaders and advocates for broad social change
  • Train young people and coaches on gender-based violence and ensure they have access to services
  • Guarantee that strategies, systems and training are in place to support non-discrimination and reduce the risks of harm

Project content

This is How We Football was launched in 2022 as part of the OFC’s commitment to a long-term women’s football strategy to ensure that girls throughout the region have the opportunity to take part in football in a safe, supportive environment.

This is How We Football focuses on creating supportive environments through regional and national communication campaigns, policy and strategy development, training and delivering programmes focused on safe female participation. We are partnering with UN Women and national women’s and children’s crisis centres to offer support and education to women and girls in our region, promoting gender equality, leadership, responses to gender-based violence and training on health and hygiene. The programme includes:

  • Youth football programmes that provide opportunities for boys and girls to interact and change perceptions around gender roles
  • A girls’ (13-18) football participation programme integrating messages of gender empowerment, life skills, health and responses to gender-based violence
  • Regional and national communications campaigns and festivals to promote awareness of gender equality
  • Gender equality training and capacity building workshops for coaches across 11 member association countries
  • Bespoke safeguarding training for all instructors across the Pacific
  • Long-term gender inclusion and safeguarding action plans developed in 11 countries in respect of EVWAG (the elimination of violence against women and girls)


Sports for Resilience and Empowerment Project, phase 2

Location and general information

Location Acholi neighbourhood, Kinuuma Masindi district, Kampala city, Uganda
Start date 12/01/2022
End date 12/01/2024
Cost of the project €350000
Foundation funding €200000
Project identifier 20220122
Partners The Aliguma Foundation
Categories Access to Sport - Children with disabilities - Conflict victims - Employability - Environmental protection - Gender Equality - Healthy lifestyle - Infrastructure and equipment - Personal development - Strengthening partnerships


The Aliguma Foundation is a charitable organisation that helps marginalised communities access the basic requirements of life. The organisation aims to improve the living standards of mothers and children. The foundation currently operates in Acholi, a slum neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kampala, mostly inhabited by refugees from northern Uganda.

Project goals

1. Identify and develop the career goals of individuals through sport

2. Enhance education and literacy among children to promote holistic development

3. Provide decent housing and a safe environment in which women from deprived backgrounds can raise their children

4. Create income-generating alternatives for mothers who are suffering severe hardships

5. Consolidate the progress made by the project by using sport and businesses as catalysts to allow 1,500 women and 5,000 children and young people to move out of social and economic exclusion

6. Extend the Sports for Resilience and Empowerment Project to refugee communities in the West Nile region and parts of western Uganda by organising football tournaments for refugee and host communities

7. Establish a football tournament for primary schools as a means to campaign for the protection of children, and girls in particular

8. Use football matches as a vehicle to offer more educational scholarships

9. Continue the construction of the Sports and Empowerment Centre, including two football pitches, volleyball and basketball courts and dormitories at the Women and Child Empowerment Centre in Masindi

10. Establish a practical skills unit at the Sports and Empowerment Centre in Masindi


Project content

- Girl child campaign in schools and communities

- Slum Soccer tournament

- UEFA Foundation ball project in schools

- Education

- Infrastructure development

- Income-generating activities at the empowerment centre


Mpira Fursa: grassroots football for girls and child safeguarding

Location and general information

Location Nationwide, Tanzania
Start date 05/01/2023
End date 12/31/2023
Cost of the project €55,000
Foundation funding €55,000
Project identifier 20221136
Partners Karibu Tanzania Organization
Categories Access to Sport - Gender Equality - Personal development


Tanzanian society suffers from considerable gender disparities that restrict girls’ and women’s access to basic services. The country has some of the highest rates of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy in the world (MoEVT, 2008; BEST, 2010), with the consequent adverse effect on school dropout rates for girls. Incidents of child violence and abuse are also increasing throughout the country. Violence against children is a serious problem, with the 2019 Violence Against Children report stating that nearly three in ten girls and approximately one in seven boys experience sexual violence before the age of 18. Almost three-quarters of both girls and boys experience physical violence before they are 18 (NICEF, 2019).

There are many talented girls in Tanzania who could be great football players, coaches, referees, administrators and sports medicine practitioners. The challenge is the lack of organisation and infrastructure to encourage women to become involved in football, combined with the negative cultural norms that restrict the participation of girls and women in sports activities.

Project goals

  • Promote girls’ football in primary schools through folk development colleges (FDCs)
  • Empower girls to become skilled, confident football players with knowledge of football and economic opportunities
  • Promote girls’ engagement and strengthen girls’ self-esteem, self-confidence and knowledge about their rights
  • Reduce school dropout rates in primary schools
  • Raise awareness of children’s rights and the importance of child safeguarding
  • Promote sports for child development and learning at daycare centres and in children’s homes

Project content

The Mpira Fursa project offers girls the opportunity to immerse themselves in football. It introduced football activities to 86 primary schools in collaboration with 43 FDCs in 23 regions during 2022. The project will be scaled up to involve 108 primary school in 54 FDC catchment areas in 24 regions in 2023. The initiative has increased the proportion of girls playing football at different levels.

Project activities

1) Conducting stakeholder orientation and project review meetings; providing training in children’s rights and safeguarding

2) Supporting the primary schools involved in the project, providing football training and supplying educational materials including football equipment (shirts, footballs and bibs)

3) Organising football matches and tournaments for girls’ primary school teams

4) Improving primary school PE teachers’ understanding of children’s rights and safeguarding

5) Engaging communities in a dialogue on gender equality, girls’ participation in football, children’s rights and safeguarding

6) Media engagement to improve public awareness and promote the project

7) Project monitoring



Location and general information

Location Maasai Mara ecosystem, Narok County, Kenya
Start date 01/01/2023
End date 06/30/2023
Cost of the project €51,568
Foundation funding €3,000
Project identifier 20220309
Partners Water4Wildlife Maasai Mara Foundation
Categories Access to Sport - Children with disabilities - Environmental protection - Gender Equality - Infrastructure and equipment - Personal development


The Maasai Mara national reserve is a wildlife conservation area in Kenya that is also home to human settlements.

Project goals

1. Increase children's access to football training sessions and matches to promote the social integration and cohesion of communities in Maasai Mara

2. Encourage girls' involvement through training and coaching

3. Educate children on wildlife conservation and life and social skills while countering adverse behaviour such as drug abuse and negative peer pressure

Project content

The Football4Wildlife programme promotes conservation awareness and encourages positive relationships in the community. The beneficiaries are children from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds in state primary schools in Maasai Mara. They are given access to sports and football in particular, while encouraging their commitment to wildlife conservation through fun activities. Information sessions and guidance on conservation will be provided alongside the sports activities. Girls are encouraged to take part in football training, to enhance gender equality. Schools will be supplied with football equipment, such as playing kits and footballs, as well as educational materials, i.e. books and marker pens, for wildlife conservation training.