Friday 17 November 2023, 07:30

Secretary General praises "commitment to youth" as Football for Schools launches in Ethiopia

  • Fatma Samoura hails efforts of national government and Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF)

  • East African country becomes 102nd to launch FIFA Football for Schools programme

  • 123,000 footballs shipped to Ethiopia as pilot phase gets underway in 60 schools

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura has praised the "commitment to the youth of Ethiopia" of the African nation's government and the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) as the FIFA Football for Schools (F4S) programme kicked off in the country. Launched in collaboration with UNESCO in 2019, the idea at the heart of the initiative is to make football more accessible to girls and boys around the world by incorporating it into the education system, teaching them life lessons as well as football skills.

Surrounded by schoolchildren as well as government dignitaries and the EFF President, Isayas Jira Bosho in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Ms Samoura highlighted the work that had been put in to get the scheme off the ground, and take to 102 the growing list of Member Associations (MAs) to have launched the programme. "Let me start my remarks by expressing my warmest appreciation to the Ethiopian Football Federation and the government of Ethiopia for the tremendous work they have been doing in recent months to launch the Football for Schools programme. It is a sign of commitment to the youth of Ethiopia, a commitment to education, a respect for societal values, and a symbol of genuine passion for sport and the beautiful game," Ms Samoura said. "This great initiative, which is already up and running in the four corners of the world is close to my own heart and an important part of FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s Vision 2023-2027 to make football truly global."

Ethiopia holds a central place in the F4S story as FIFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Addis Ababa with the Conféderation Africaine de Football (CAF) and the African Union (AU) in 2019. A key theme of the MoU was to support education through football, and with Ethiopia's inclusion, 72% of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) have now committed to F4S. Fifty-four coach educators from across Ethiopia - 30% of whom are women - underwent a two-day capacity-building course, and will now roll out the first phase of the programme in more than 60 pilot schools. It will then be extended to all 30,000 primary education establishments in the country. FIFA has also facilitated the implementation of the programme by releasing the F4S app, which includes more than 100 illustrated football and life skills sessions, and has shipped some 123,000 size 4 footballs specifically conceived for children and for all types of pitches to Ethiopia.

"Our thanks to the Ethiopian government for its collaboration on this project and their commitment to making the dreams of children in Ethiopia and around the world come true. With their smiles, the dedication of the coaches, and the commitment of the EFF, we can look forward to a very bright future," said Ms Samoura. "For the future, may I ask for your continued support, as we believe that the Ethiopian Football Federation and the government can contribute to social change in the country by working on the foundations that have been laid with the launch of the Football for Schools program. With your support, we would like to turn this project into a benchmark for everyone to follow."

Football for Schools