- Rwanda becomes the 14th country to implement the programme in Africa and the 50th globally.
Following a successful launch in Kigali, Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA) has become the 50th member association to implement the Football for Schools (F4S) programme under the world football governing body, FIFA.
The launch ceremony involved 100 local school children between the age of 4-12 years old and it was attended by FIFA’s Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, Fifa Senior Football Advisor Youri Djorkaeff, and other FIFA Legends of the likes of Houssine Kharja, Amanda Dlamini and Herita Ilunga, as well as FERWAFA President Olivier Mugabo and other relevant Rwandan personnel.
At the eighth FIFA Council, the Football for Schools (F4S) was first created in Kigali and the first in Rwanda. The FIFA and UNESCO took a step further to put the plan in motion by signing a Memorandum of Understanding and since then 50 additional countries have rolled out this programme. In the CECAFA region, Rwanda is the second nation to be part of the programme, making the country the 14th in Africa to implement it.
In cooperation with UNESCO, the programme was launched and created to foster targeted life skills and talents through football and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and also to contribute to the education and empowerment of children.
During the launch ceremony that took place at the Stade de IPRC in Kicukiro, Kigali, Fatma Samoura the FIFA Secretary General pointed out the F4S’s impact, with an expansion across Africa and the world. “This programme has one ambition; through the beautiful game, to teach life skills to children, to make them more tolerant of diversity, to make them embrace the differences they see in other peers, to be more alert to the world we are living in, and to protect the environment”.
She continued saying “there will also be learning; how to respect their country, how to respect their elders, and how to respect the community. Also how to accept loss, analyze failure and bounce back and get ready for new challenges”.
According to the FIFA Secretary General, the programme involves 700 million schoolchildren around the world and it “aims to make them the best citizens and better agencies for change”. She claims that they have 27 trained coach educators which means that programme is ready to be rolled out in 4,000 schools, and sooner 20,000 footballs will be dispatched to set the ball in motion.
Fatimata Sidibe, Director of Football for Schools appreciated the impact of the programme that is being implemented globally, as she said “Football for Schools is an amazing programme and its launch in Rwanda is full of symbolism”. She expressed her gratitude to the Rwandan government for its collaboration on the project launch in Kigali.
In addition, with an investment of $100 million, the programme will be implemented through a partnership between the Rwandan ministries of Sports and Education and the FERWAFA.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju the Minister of Sports in Rwanda said: “the football for School programme comes as a contributor to Rwanda’s vision of being a sports hub and there is no better way than starting with children”.