Monday 25 March 2024, 21:45

FIFA Foundation funding helps launch Twinning Project in South Africa

  • The Twinning Project is kicking off in South Africa this week to improve the lives of inmates and their communities

  • Originating in the United Kingdom, the Twinning Project seeks to assist in the rehabilitation of inmates by providing football-based programmes

  • Through FIFA Foundation funding, the project is expanding globally, starting in South Africa

South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services and the football club SuperSport United have teamed up – supported by funding from the FIFA Foundation – to launch the Twinning Project at Kgosi Mampuru II Management Area this week.

Originating in the United Kingdom, where professional football clubs have partnered with His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, the Twinning Project is an innovative educational initiative designed to drive social change through football.

Having received accolades within the criminal justice environments in the UK and the USA on the back of its collaborations with the English Premier League and Major League Soccer respectively, the Twinning Project is now expanding globally thanks to the FIFA Foundation’s involvement, with the next phase being launched in South Africa.

It was the civil rights activist Jesse Jackson who said, “Never look down on someone, unless you are helping them up.” It is under this mantra that the Twinning Project encourages inmates to engage in football-based programmes to improve their mental and physical health and well-being and to obtain a qualification that can boost their life chances, including by assisting them in gaining employment on release. Ultimately, the objective is for people to get a second chance, turn their lives around and become positive contributors to society.

This phase in South Africa will see professional coaches and football club staff – supported by prison physical education teachers – engage with 48 inmates to deliver accredited coaching and employability-based sessions.

This link-up between the Twinning Project and the FIFA Foundation is the first step on a long journey together to enhance the lives of inmates and their communities.

The FIFA Foundation believes that football can help make a positive social change in communities in every corner of the world – and among people from every walk of life. In line with FIFA’s strategic objectives, the FIFA Foundation harnesses football as a unifying force, with revenue generated by FIFA invested back into the game through multiple channels throughout the year.

“We are proud to support the Twinning Project. It is a transformative platform, a bridge to rebuilding lives. It enables a better future, benefiting the lives of entire families and communities in equal measure,” said the Executive Chairman of the FIFA Foundation, Mauricio Macri. “Football is a global game with a global reach. It’s important to expand this programme and we are excited to be working with the Twinning Project to make this happen.”

All stakeholders in this programme are firm believers in football’s potential to transcend boundaries and create opportunities for personal growth and this project embodies that belief.

“By engaging in football activities, inmates will have the opportunity to develop teamwork, leadership and discipline, which are invaluable qualities if they are to reintegrate into society successfully,” said SuperSport United CEO, Stan Matthews. “We are proud to partner with the Twinning Project in using football to change lives for the better.”

The long-term goal is for the programme to be expanded worldwide and for every correctional centre across the globe to be linked with a local professional football club.

“I am delighted to be launching the first Twinning Project provision in Africa alongside our partners the FIFA Foundation and SuperSport United,” said the CEO of the Twinning Project, Hilton Freund. “Football has the power to change lives, provide hope and create opportunities and, together with my football partners, it’s a privilege to bring our work to South Africa.”

FIFA Foundation