Burundi has become the 100th country to implement FIFA’s Football for Schools programme in a ceremony held in a celebratory atmosphere at the Urunani Stadium in Buganda, outside Bujumbura, and attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The ceremony took place in the presence of the Burundi Minister of East African Community Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture, Gervais Abayeho, and the President of the Football Federation of Burundi, Alexandre Muyenge.
“Thanks to this wonderful Football for Schools project, FIFA and Burundi are uniting the world. We’re uniting the world with a football project, with an education project, with a project that gives chances and opportunities to the youth, to the boys and girls of this wonderful country, Burundi,” the FIFA President told the crowd.
FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and Chairman of FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina were also part of the FIFA delegation, along with FIFA Director Member Associations Africa Gelson Fernandes and FIFA Senior Football Advisor Youri Djorkaeff.
Football for Schools aims to make the game more accessible to young people by incorporating football activities into the education system. Supported by UNESCO, the programme contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by empowering children.
Around 1.5 million footballs have been distributed since it was first launched in Puerto Rico in 2019 and more than 23 million children are using the Football for Schools app.
“Education means giving the youth a chance to play football, and FIFA has invested a lot, especially in Africa. It’s a continent that means a lot to us, we have many educational projects in Africa,” said Arsène Wenger. “Good luck to all the kids. It’s a huge project to give all of the youth a chance to play football. Hopefully there will be many great players soon, here in Burundi.”
FIFA instructors Antonio Sanchez and Melvin Mendy trained 62 educators and master trainers from Burundi’s 18 regions and Bujumbura on the operational implementation of Football For Schools.
“This milestone of 100 FIFA Football For Schools member federations is an excellent opportunity to recognise the hard work, commitment, and selflessness of the entire FIFA team and particularly the Football For Schools team in serving member associations,” said Fatimata Sidibe, FIFA Director of Football for Schools.
“The 100 Burundian schoolchildren present at the celebration brought the stadium to its feet with their shouts of joy as they thanked the President of FIFA. The next step for Football For Schools will be to consolidate what has been achieved to ensure that member associations take ownership of Football For Schools and to incorporate life skills into their curricula.”