Tuesday 14 March 2023, 18:45

Football for Schools launches in Rwanda

  • FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura present as Football for Schools launches in Kigalii

  • Rwanda becomes the 14th CAF member association, and the 50th globally to implement the programme

  • The launch took place two days before the 73rd FIFA Congress, also to be held in Rwanda

The Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA) has become the 50th member association to implement FIFA’s hugely successful Football for Schools (F4S) programme, following a launch event in Kigali. The event was attended by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, Rwanda’s state Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Twagirayezu Gaspard, the Rwandan Minister of Sport, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, FERWAFA President Olivier Mugabo, FIFA Senior Football Advisor Youri Djorkaeff and FIFA Legends Houssine Kharja, Amanda Dlamini and Herita Ilunga – and involved 100 local schoolchildren aged between 4-12 years.

Speaking at the launch, which took place at the Stade de IPRC in the Kicukiro of Kigali, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura highlighted the programme’s impact, as it continues to expand across Africa – and the world. “This programme has one ambition; through the beautiful game, to teach life skills to children,” she said. “To make them more tolerant to diversity, to make them embrace the differences they see in other genders, to be more alert to the world we are living in and to protect the environment. There will also be learning; how to respect their country, how to respect their elders, how to respect the community. How to accept to lose. How to analyse failure and to bounce back and get ready for new challenges.” The FIFA Secretary General continued: “This programme aims to make our children – the 700 million school children around the world – best citizens, and better agencies for change. In Rwanda we have already trained 27 coach educators – meaning that the programme is ready to be rolled out in 4,000 schools, and very soon 20,000 footballs will be dispatched to this country to start getting the ball rolling. To make your children, our children, better actors of development.”

F4S was first conceived in Kigali in 2018, at the eighth FIFA Council, and its first in Rwanda. One year later FIFA and UNESCO signed an MoU to put it into action. Since then, 50 countries have rolled out this programme. Rwanda is the second country in the CECAFA region to join the programme and the 14th country in Africa to implement it. Launched in collaboration with UNESCO and designed to promote targeted life skills and competencies through football and contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the programme’s stated ambition is to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of children. It also works to make football more accessible to both boys and girls around the world by incorporating football activities into the education system, in partnership with relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Football for Schools Director, Fatimata Sidibe, was also present at the Rwanda launch and praised the impact of the globally implemented programme. “Football for Schools is an amazing programme,” she said. “This launch in Rwanda is full of symbolism, it is first of all a return to the source, because the program was conceived in Rwanda in 2018 during a FIFA council meeting and the symbolism of the number because Rwanda becomes the 50th Football for Schools country in margin of the 73rd FIFA congress.” She continued: “Collectively we are contributing to bringing joy to the 100 children from 4 to 12 years old, who attended the F4S festival in Kigali. Our thanks to the government of Rwanda for its collaboration on this project launch in Kigali and to our dear partner Generation Amazing, for their support and passion in rolling out the programme out in Qatar and in cooperation with the F4S team, for developing the five sessions that are already included in the Football for Schools digital app on key themes such as environmental protection and sustainability, among much other support.” Also present at the launch event were Jassim Al Thani and Salem Al Hamri from the Qatar Assistant Foreign Minister Office - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives of Generation Amazing (GA). GA, in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and the National Rehabilitation, centre refurbished a sport facility in Bugesera and turned it into a GA Community Club which shall be available to FIFA to run their programme for schools in Bugesera district.