FIFA Secretary General participates in sessions on social development in Kinshasa

  • School team players meet and chat before the tournament

  • Participants learn about gender equity and healthy relationships

  • Fatma Samoura: “We know how fantastic this first phase will be.”

A social development program involving all the participating teams kicked off the activities of the Pan-African School Championship in Kinshasa, with FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura encouraging it during a visit to the sessions.

In collaboration with streetfootballworld, TackleAfrica and the United Nations agency UN-Women, teambuilding sessions have been activated for male and female players from the six participating member associations to have fun together and build confidence, while strengthening the importance of equal opportunity.

“The idea is to use sport as an engine for peace and social cohesion and that was our motivation when we tried to bring together six teams, each representing one of the six zonal unions of CAF, said the secretary. General of FIFA, Fatma Samoura: “At the heart of it, the idea is that these children will eventually become role models for their community but also for their country, as well as real development actors through this training.

“We want to allow children to use sport to embrace the values ​​that football generally conveys. This includes fighting discrimination and social prejudice and ultimately championing positive masculinity. The tournament was set up in less than a year and when you see how excited the young Moroccans, Senegalese, Beninese, South Africans and Ethiopians were when they reunited with their Congolese friends and with all those smiling faces, we know how fantastic this pilot phase is going to be.

The educational sessions took place with teams of girls and boys together, sharing important messages of inclusion and accessibility with participants.

“There is a lot of discrimination against women and also against minorities,” explained Madame Samoura. “So throughout these two days where we try to give the children life skills, first of all we want to allow them to accept themselves as women and as human beings, but we also want to show the boys that they should embrace equality, tolerance for women and acceptance of diversity.

“We often take gender parity for granted, but in reality, the foundations of cultural and social values ​​in Africa still tend to socially separate boys and girls: household chores are for girls and sport is for boys . So we try to correct these prejudices by allowing girls to play sports.

The FIFA Secretary General took the opportunity to thank the hosts for facilitating the tournament and its many areas of development as well as the United Nations partners whose active support enabled the Schools Champions Cup to Africa to materialize. “This is also an opportunity for us to thank His Excellency President Félix Tshisekedi for all the efforts he has made and the means he has made available to him through the Ministry of Sports, as well as the commitment marked and massive of the Minister [of Sport and Leisure]Serge Tshembo Nkonde, without whom we could never have organized this tournament in such a short time.

Joel C. Hicks