World Cup Campaign To Build Centers To Provide HIV/AIDS Education, Other Services to At-Risk African Youth

Authorities in South Africa have begun construction of one of the 20 planned Football for Hope centers in Africa — part of a 2010 World Cup Campaign called “20 Centers for 2010” aimed at reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, poverty and crime in local communities — the AP/ reports. The center under construction in South Africa’s Khayelitsha township will include a soccer pitch, community center and after-school programs that will focus on sex education and HIV/AIDS education. The International Federation of Football Association, or FIFA, in alliance with Streetfootballworld, a network of development groups, is providing the campaign with $10 million in funding. Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Rwanda, and other African countries will be home to the remaining 19 centers.

According to FIFA President Joseph Blatter, the campaign “emphasizes the power of football far beyond the boundaries of the pitch.” He added that the centers will “provide a platform for communities to address social issues such as children’s rights, education, health, HIV/AIDS prevention and will leave a legacy for Africa that will last long after the final whistle of the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been blown.” Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape Province, said construction of the center in the township “shows what we can do when we focus on getting things right rather than concentrating on what’s wrong,” adding that she hopes the center is successful with its HIV/AIDS education efforts. The center will be run by Grassroots Soccer, an HIV/AIDS education organization that uses the sport to educate youth. Nocawe Tyali, a life-skills and football teacher who works with teenagers, said the new center will give young people an alternative to high-risk behaviors and enable the area to offer more youth football programs that include an HIV/AIDS prevention message (Nullis, AP/, 5/25).

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