The UEFA Foundation for Children’s decision-making body – the board of trustees, chaired by former European Commission president José Manuel Durão Barroso – has chosen the winners of the foundation’s 2016 awards.
The awards were one of the key items on the agenda at the board’s latest meeting in Nyon earlier this week. Responsibility for managing and awarding the annual €1m UEFA Monaco charity cheque passed from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee to the UEFA Foundation for Children in 2015, when it became the UEFA Foundation for Children Awards.
The foundation’s board of trustees have established a new selection system to acknowledge and raise the profile of community groups and their contribution to the activities they support. To be eligible for an award, charities must be linked to football, or sport in general, and seek to promote peace, integration, greater social harmony, respect for differences and non-discrimination:
The first UEFA Foundation for Children Award winners are:
• streetfootballworld: a network that unites more than 100 community organisations behind a common goal – changing the world through football.
• Colombianitos: a body striving to raise the quality of life of children and young people and their communities, through sport, recreation, education and health.
• Just Play: a programme that improves the lives of children in the Pacific region through football.
• Right To Play: an initiative using the power of play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.
• Magic Bus: a scheme that steers children towards a better life with better awareness, better life skills and better opportunities in the journey from childhood to livelihood.
The board of trustees also reviewed all ongoing projects, especially those related to a solidarity fund for migrant and displaced children, which was set up thanks to a €2m donation approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 11 December 2015. Various initiatives are being implemented to help migrants and displaced children from the Middle East and eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, and also to support European host countries that are receiving unprecedented numbers of migrants.
In Europe, projects are being put in place in 13 countries in cooperation with 19 different associations. These schemes will help more than 30,000 people, of whom 65% are migrants and 35% are people active in society, such as coaches and teachers.
In the Middle East, the UEFA Foundation for Children is continuing its support for refugees in Jordan and Lebanon through projects that use football to encourage social cohesion, foster reconciliation and peaceful coexistence within communities, and promote education.
“The UEFA Foundation for Children is already making a difference all over the world,” said José Manuel Durão Barroso after the board meeting. “Already today, thousands of children who are underprivileged or living in difficult circumstances are being supported in their daily lives by the foundation through education and opportunities to play, among other things.
“In order to develop our activities,” he added, “we will continue to look for new forms of financing that respect the code of ethics – and we will do this with complete transparency.
“We consider that developing our activities hand-in-hand with other organisations whose projects are linked to sport,” Barroso concluded, “is a sustainable way to increase the results of our work, namely by promoting deep integration and creating social harmony.”
The UEFA Foundation for Children is currently backing projects in 44 different countries or territories:
• 20 in Europe: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine
• 7 in Africa: Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Uganda
• 2 in South America: Brazil and Colombia
• 11 in Oceania: American Samoa, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu
• 4 in Asia: Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Nepal
These activities are carried out in partnership with 35 charitable organisations, 12 national football associations and a number of UN agencies.