Africa: Using football to support development

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Africa United partners, including the African Union, Confederation of African Football (CAF), CDC Foundation and the World Bank Group proposed Africa United as a Commitment to Action at the 11th Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting today.

Africa United, a powerful neutrally-branded communications platform, leverages African political and football leadership along with national and local football stars to address leading health issues affecting African countries.

Africa United supports the objectives of both the African Union and CAF in tackling the Global Development Goals, by using sport as a powerful tool to promote stronger health systems, education, peace and social integration on the continent.

“As an athlete and a father, maintaining my family’s health is of utmost importance. Africa United provides the perfect common platform for all of us to work together to improve the health of fellow Africans, and I pledge my support to this powerful platform,” said football legend, Didier Drogba.

“Partnerships at all levels, as well as community engagement and participation, are central to improving the health of our communities. This is exactly what the Africa United platform aims to achieve. I am pleased to offer my support to this much needed central resource,” said Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Minister of Health of the Republic of Senegal.

“Football is an important part of the continent’s identity and culture. Through Africa United, CAF does not only wish to, but has an obligation to, use football as a key platform for tackling educational and health issues that impact Africa’s youth,” said Hicham El Amrani, Secretary General of CAF.

The Africa United platform was originally created and deployed in West Africa by KYNE and Speak Up Africa to rebuild trust of healthcare workers during the Ebola crisis, reaching hundreds of millions of people in West Africa via partnerships with local health authorities, CDC, and NGOs on the ground.

Building on this success, Africa United will scale its framework, leveraging existing relationships, but integrating new partners and resources, to tackle broader health issues, and expanding its focus.

In non-crisis times, the Africa United coalition will develop communication materials featuring trusted sports influencers to encourage small actions that have a big impact on health, aligned with SDG #3: ensure healthy lives, promote well-being for all at all ages. During a crisis, the communication platform will use its trusted voices and pivot quickly to respond to a crisis with specific behavior change messages that will help avoid epidemics becoming pandemics.

The platform will be open-source, meaning that it is available to anyone who wants to use it, amplifying the reach and influence of existing campaigns. The campaign’s educational materials will be neutrally branded such that they can be adapted and distributed by ministries of health, clinics, government and NGOs, and media and sports organizations.

The partners signed a memorandum of understanding to solidify their commitment and recruit additional celebrities, footballers, NGOs, governments and key corporate partners to build the Africa United platform.

African Media Agency

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