FCB and UNICEF strengthen their partnership for children in four countries Brazil, China, Ghana and South Africa are benefiting through sport and education programmes

 

FCB and UNICEF strengthen their partnership for children in four countries Brazil, China, Ghana and South Africa are benefiting through sport and education programmes

Global News 00:10
BARCELONA/ HONG KONG, 10 May 2012 – In an event at the stadium of the legendary football team, Barcelona FC, the FC Barcelona Foundation and UNICEF today powered up their promise to improve the lives of millions of children through sport and education.

Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, Ramon Pont, Vice President of the FC Barcelona Foundation and Marc Bartra, FC Barcelona player met with 75 schoolchildren to discuss the importance of sport in children’s lives. They also answered students’ questions about UNICEF, children in other countries, football and about why is FCB partnering with UNICEF.

A boy tosses a football while other boys play behind him, in Oranjestad, the capital. A local retiree coaches the boys, who are from low-income families. One of the boys wears a shirt from the FC Barcelona football team that bears the UNICEF logo.  In September 2011, Aruba continues working to protect the welfare of its children since gaining autonomy from the Netherlands in 1986. Nevertheless, Aruba, like its sister islands in the Caribbean  Curacao and the Dutch portion of Sint Maarten  remains part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, bound by its international treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). To assess the status of Arubas children, UNICEF was invited to undertake a situation analysis  UNICEFs core methodology to define child welfare in a given country, reviewing childrens situation in the context of an array of social, economic, political, institutional and historic factors. The aim was to evaluate progress and challenges in realizing childrens and womens rights in Aruba and to make recommendations for policies and social actions to improve these conditions. The analysis noted Arubas generally favourable economic status but also its high dependency on tourism, which provides limited employment options for islanders and makes them highly vulnerable to steep downturns in the global economy. It also showed the benefits of the islands universal health care: over 99 per cent of women receive antenatal care; more than 95 per cent of births are overseen by skilled attendants; vaccination coverage among children between 12 and 23 months old has reached 90 per cent, and all children have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. Nevertheless, obesity affects 35 per cent of children, heralding future health problems, and rising rates of adolescent pregnancy are causing increased health and social complications. In education, nearly all children aged 611 years attend primary school. However, the absence of laws requiring post-secondary attendance contributes to high dropout rates for adolescents, which, in turn, contributes to the numbers of youth involved in gangs or substance abuse. Current policy also mandates Dutch  in which only 5.8 per cent of the population is fluent  as the principal language of instruction, instead of Papiamento, a Creole language spoken by 66.3 per cent of inhabitants. Language barriers are compounded for the 30 per cent of the population who are new immigrants, most of whom speak neither Dutch nor Papiamento. A preponderance of low-wage jobs and inadequate childcare also contribute to rising reports of child abuse. UNICEF recommendations note the need for a more diversified economy that promotes social welfare as well as growth and for continued reporting and visibility for childrens issues to support positive change. It also recommends improved interaction and coordination between state, social, private and union sectors to implement policies addressing the language of educational instruction, high school attendance, childhood obesity, protections against abuse and domestic violence, as well as the needs of diverse cultures.“FC Barcelona is highly committed to work with UNICEF to advance the global message of the importance of children’s issues and to promote education and sport,” said Ramon Pont, Vice President of the FC Barcelona Foundation.

UNICEF recognises the critical role of sport and physical play in children’s lives. Participation by young people in sport and play contributes to their physical development and can teach basic values and life skills, such as discipline, leadership, teamwork, fairness and respect for others. Sport and play can also help fight discrimination and the exclusion of marginalised groups, including children with disabilities.

“All UNICEF team is delighted with its partnership with FC Barcelona. Through this partnership UNICEF and FC Barcelona are committed to provide millions of children the opportunity to receive an education and experience the happiness of sports, and learn positive values through physical education, sport and play,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, in his first visit to FCB headquarters.

Boys run on a track at Guillermo Prospero Trinidad Stadium, in Oranjestad, the capital. They are participating in a programme offered by Athletik Bond, a local government-sponsored organization that coaches children in track and field sports.  In September 2011, Aruba continues working to protect the welfare of its children since gaining autonomy from the Netherlands in 1986. Nevertheless, Aruba, like its sister islands in the Caribbean  Curacao and the Dutch portion of Sint Maarten  remains part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, bound by its international treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). To assess the status of Arubas children, UNICEF was invited to undertake a situation analysis  UNICEFs core methodology to define child welfare in a given country, reviewing childrens situation in the context of an array of social, economic, political, institutional and historic factors. The aim was to evaluate progress and challenges in realizing childrens and womens rights in Aruba and to make recommendations for policies and social actions to improve these conditions. The analysis noted Arubas generally favourable economic status but also its high dependency on tourism, which provides limited employment options for islanders and makes them highly vulnerable to steep downturns in the global economy. It also showed the benefits of the islands universal health care: over 99 per cent of women receive antenatal care; more than 95 per cent of births are overseen by skilled attendants; vaccination coverage among children between 12 and 23 months old has reached 90 per cent, and all children have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. Nevertheless, obesity affects 35 per cent of children, heralding future health problems, and rising rates of adolescent pregnancy are causing increased health and social complications. In education, nearly all children aged 611 years attend primary school. However, the absence of laws requiring post-secondary attendance contributes to high dropout rates for adolescents, which, in turn, contributes to the numbers of youth involved in gangs or substance abuse. Current policy also mandates Dutch  in which only 5.8 per cent of the population is fluent  as the principal language of instruction, instead of Papiamento, a Creole language spoken by 66.3 per cent of inhabitants. Language barriers are compounded for the 30 per cent of the population who are new immigrants, most of whom speak neither Dutch nor Papiamento. A preponderance of low-wage jobs and inadequate childcare also contribute to rising reports of child abuse. UNICEF recommendations note the need for a more diversified economy that promotes social welfare as well as growth and for continued reporting and visibility for childrens issues to support positive change. It also recommends improved interaction and coordination between state, social, private and union sectors to implement policies addressing the language of educational instruction, high school attendance, childhood obesity, protections against abuse and domestic violence, as well as the needs of diverse cultures. On 23 April, children exercise during a recreation activity at the Parc Jean Marie Vincent sports centre in the Piste Aviation neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, the capital. The area is serving as a temporary settlement site for an estimated 25,000 people displaced by the earthquake. The recreation programme provides structured daily sports activities, as well as psychosocial support, for young people. It is managed by the Haitian Olympic Committee, with support from the Government, UNICEF and other partners. Most open spaces in the city are now occupied by the displaced.  By early May 2010 in Haiti, emergency responses had shifted to long-term recovery efforts in response to the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on 12 January. The quakes epicentre was only 17 kilometres from Port-au-Prince, the capital, more than 222,500 people were killed and 1.3 million, of whom 450,000 were children, became homeless. In Port-au-Prince, more than 619,000 people continue to live in makeshift settlements, despite an exodus of over 604,000 from the devastated city. The towns of Léogâne and Jacmel were also heavily damaged; and social infrastructures in rural communities, which now host some of the displaced, are over-strained. In the capital, major government and private infrastructure have been destroyed or heavily damaged, including hospitals, water, sanitation and electrical systems, and telecommunications, banks and transportation networks. UNICEF is working with the Government, other UN agencies, international and local NGOs and private partners to help rebuild  with special focus on the estimated 46 per cent of Haitis nearly 10 million inhabitants who are under age 18. UNICEF is the lead coordinating agency for nutrition, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and child protection; UNICEF also shares lead coordinating duties on education with Save the Children, and is a key health partner. This latest catastrophe has exacerbated Haitis already critical humanitarian situation. Prior to the quake, more than 78 per cent of the population lived on less than US $2.00 a day. UNICEFs portion of the February 2010 United Nations Haiti Revised Humanitarian Appeal (totalling US $1.44 billion) is US $222.8 million, most of which has been received. But while international donors have pledged some US $5.3 billion to support all aspects of Haitis recovery over the next 18 months, an estimated US $11.5 billion is required to meet projected needs.
Participation by young people in sport and play contributes to their physical development and can teach basic values and life skills. Sport and play can also help fight discrimination and the exclusion of marginalised groups.

FCB contributes a total of around HK$15 millon (Euro 1.5 million) per year to support UNICEF’s work with the aim to reach millions of children in 16,000 schools in four countries: Brazil, China, Ghana and South Africa. Over 5,000 teachers and coaches are planned to be trained, and sport and sport values will be integrated in school programmes. Schools will also be provided with sports supplies and improved infrastructure for physical education, sport and play programmes.