How the UEFA Foundation for Children has helped over one million children to dream big
Since 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children’s pioneering campaign to use football to drive social good has improved the lives of more than one million children, across 275 projects in 109 countries.
The 2019/20 season was unusual, to say the least. Not only did it mark the foundation’s fifth anniversary, it was also a year of many challenges. During this time, the foundation’s parent organisation, UEFA, expressed a clear desire to consolidate its support for the protection of children and the promotion of equal opportunities for all.
In 2019/20, the foundation’s funding was distributed equally between projects in Europe and projects on other continents.
The foundation’s tireless efforts to make a difference to children’s lives and put smiles on young faces are showcased throughout the report in a series of real-life stories from inside and outside of Europe.
Less than 24 hours after the creation of Common Goal’s COVID-19 Response Fund, the UEFA Foundation for Children became the fund’s first institutional backer. In supporting the fund, the foundation's aim is to tackle the immediate effects of the pandemic on children and young people, ensuring that support continues beyond the initial emergency aid, with a focus on deprived communities and conflict settings. Since launching the fund on 8 April 2020, Common Goal has allocated the first round of funding to 27 community organisations.
Child safeguarding policy
In 2019/20 UEFA drafted a child safeguarding policy to help all European football associations better defend and protect children while they play football - a principle that underpins all the foundation’s activities. An increase in our operational budget also boosted the foundation’s ability to act. All these factors enable the foundation to play an important role during the health crisis that shook the world in the first half of 2020.
Listening, coordinating and adapting responses were the watchwords of the foundation’s work with its various partners. By helping children and their families to overcome this crisis, the foundation was able to minimise the pandemic’s economic and social impact, reduce inequalities and prevent an increase in hardship.
The UEFA president and chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, Aleksander Čeferin, said:
“Thanks to the foundation’s projects, we are helping communities on all five continents. The game brings together millions of children all over the world, giving them the chance to share experiences and flourish, regardless of their background, gender and culture. Personally, having had the opportunity to be involved in various projects, I have seen that football is an extremely powerful tool". Whether it is in refugee camps, the troubled suburbs of European cities or forgotten conflict zones, all the activities supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children have strengthened my desire to see European football play a prominent role in the social development of young people all over the world.”
While many of the projects supported over the past five years have focused children’s health, education and integration, , the foundation is now setting fresh objectives. Attention will also focus on victims of conflict, especially refugees, and the promotion of youth employment through football.
“Whether it is in refugee camps, the troubled suburbs of European cities or forgotten conflict zones”, Aleksander Čeferin said, “all the activities supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children have strengthened my desire to see European football assume its role in the social development of young people all over the world.”