UNV News

Young Football Volunteers project soon to be launched

In August 2010 the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) received the 2010 Monaco Charity Award from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).  Every year the UEFA gives this award to a deserving organization that is mobilizing the power of sport to achieve positive change.

With funds available from the Monaco Charity Award, UNOSDP will provide funding for five UN or UN-supported sports for development and peace projects in different regions.  This week, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme’s proposal for a Young Football Volunteers project in Ukraine has been selected as UNOSDP’s project in Europe.  

UNV is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and local NGOs to implement the Young Football Volunteers project, to be launched in late 2011. The project has been officially developed in the framework and with the support of the State social project ‘Let’s Do It Together’, planned and led by the Ministry for Education, Science, Youth and Sport of Ukraine.  It will be implemented by state institutions, non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to maintain the momentum generated by the European Football Championship that will take place in Ukraine in 2012.

The Young Football Volunteers project will use football and football-related training exercises as a way to reach young people aged 12 to 20 years living in rural areas of Ukraine.

The objective of the project is to contribute to Millennium Development Goal (MDG) achievements by using sports to promote social cohesion, strengthen civil society and improve physical and social health amongst youth.

Ukraine has one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world.  The majority of those infected are under 30 years of age, with about 25 per cent of those affected still in their teens.  In addition, the lack of professional and recreational opportunities available to rural youth lead to risky behaviours such as drinking and drug abuse, and a sense of frustration and pessimism.

Through the methodology ―Youth Development through Football (YDF) ― the training of young football players will be integrated with the topics of HIV prevention and awareness, violence prevention, environment, gender equality and community involvement.  This technique has been developed by the GIZ during the South Africa World Cup in 2010 and it will be adapted to fit the Ukrainian context.

This project will empower youth, teaching them personal responsibility with regard to their health and social development, and inspiring them to become agents of change for their communities.  

Over the next 48 months, there will be one full-time international UN Volunteer with a background in managing community development, youth engagement and outreach projects and three national UN Volunteers with youth-related work backgrounds, good training skills, and relevant experience in community mobilization projects.

The project will be assisted by a pool of online volunteers who will be selected through the UNV Online Volunteering service to help administer the project’s website, as well as design communication and visibility materials and other similar services.

The Young Football Volunteers project will create an enabling environment for volunteer action to grow, by providing training on volunteer and project management to coaches and actively involving local institutions. Young people who were initially mobilized on the football pitch will increase their civic participation and become volunteers fostering social inclusion and providing services to the most vulnerable people.