UEFA Foundation for Children backs 12 new projects

The foundation’s board of trustees promotes sport as a vehicle to support vulnerable children.

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s board of trustees, chaired by the former European Commission president, José Manuel Durão Barroso, met in October at the House of European Football in Nyon.

The main items on the meeting agenda included a review of all current activities and campaigns, and the inaugural 2016 UEFA Foundation for Children awards ceremony took place, highlighting the work of the five charitable bodies chosen to receive the awards for their campaigns seeking to promote peace, integration, greater social harmony, respect for differences and non-discrimination: streetfootballworld, Colombianitos, Just Play, Right to Play and Magic Bus.

The board also approved new projects, following on from a call for projects for 2016/17. The board carefully studied the numerous initiatives submitted, which had to meet the following criteria: conformity with the UEFA Foundation for Children’s statutes; credibility of the bodies in question; presentation of a viable budget, including the participation of local partners; and the sustainability value of the projects.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has earmarked €1 million in financial support for 12 new projects, involving programmes designed to help vulnerable, disadvantaged or disabled children across the world.

The following projects will be added to the UEFA foundation’s portfolio:

  • An educational project based on team sports, in particular handball, volleyball, football and basketball, run in partnership with a French non-governmental organisation, CIELO (Coopération internationale pour les équilibres locaux), which is active in Benin, Cameroun and Togo;
  • An initiative aimed at promoting education and life skills in Congo, proposed by Promo Jeune Basket, who have been working with young people in the country for more than ten years. More than 1,000 youngsters have derived benefit from the project;
  • The “Solidarité aveugle” (“Blind solidarity”) project, run by Libre Vue, destined for 150 young blind girls and boys in Mali, and designed to enable them to play football in an appropriate environment – thereby combatting social exclusion and promoting football for all;
  • “Goal Plus”, a project supported by PluSport, an organisation which uses football and other ball games to integrate disabled people in Switzerland;
  • “The Game, The Life”, established by the Swiss NGO IMBEWU, and aimed at supporting disadvantaged children and young people in townships in South Africa in their education and on their life paths, in order to bring about greater equality, tolerance and social cohesion;
  • A project by the Brincar de Rua organisation, which is based and active in the Leiria region of Portugal. The project offers street-playing experiences in urban areas for children aged between 5 and 12. The children are integrated within groups in their neighbourhood, and take part in sporting activities which are beneficial to their health, development and well-being;
  • An educational, health and social inclusion programme for children in disadvantaged communities in Israel and Palestine, to be implemented in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Deir Istiya by Inter Campus, an organisation working with numerous local partners;
  • A programme of education through sport which keeps children occupied and active from when they leave school during the day until the evening – normally a period in the day when they are generally left to their own devices. The programme is run by the Education for Children organisation which is active in Jocotenango, a region of Guatemala marked by extreme poverty, gang crime, drugs and alcohol, as well as by domestic and sexual violence;
  • “Football for All in Vietnam”, a partnership programme between the Football Association of Norway and the Vietnam Football Federation, which promotes education and cultural values through football for young people – in particular girls, minorities and disabled children;
  • Football for Life (F4L) Academy, a specialised educational programme, based on playing and designed for the world’s most marginalised children. Since 2014, in the Philippines, F4L has been using football to help disadvantaged children to continue their schooling and escape from intergenerational poverty, and connects marginalised children with prominent local football players to motivate them;
  • A programme run by Plan Nederland in partnership with Johan Cruyff Foundation, working to reduce early pregnancies and forced marriages among young girls in Nicaragua, using football as a vehicle to make girls more autonomous and reinforce the process of social change. Fathers and boys are being encouraged to actively support the girls;
  • The “Beyond the Pitches’ Green” project run by the Instituto Fazer Acontecer, a non-governmental organisation based in Brazil which promotes sport’s potential as a powerful tool for social change. This project will enable the training of 300 instructors in Football3 methodology, benefitting more than 900 young people from disadvantaged communities in 15 towns across the country.