UN and others use World Cup to help raise poverty awareness among African youth


(eTN) – While many African nations were counting on luring FIFA World Cup soccer fans to their respective countries, the United Nations had a different goal in mind—it wanted to give 20 young Africans the “chance of a lifetime” to watch the final match of the soccer World Cup in South Africa, which was held Sunday.

The United Nations-backed scheme sought to raise awareness of how young people can help to combat urban poverty.

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According to UN, the young people — from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa — joined Anna Tibaijuka, executive director of the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT), at the game between Spain and the Netherlands.

Under an initiative entitled “Youth for a Safer Africa,” the youth were sponsored by the UN agency and its partners, including non-governmental organization Right to Play and soft drink giant Coca-Cola.

The scheme, UN said, aimed to inspire African youth and enhance their participation in sports.

UN-HABITAT and its partners believe that youth are an untapped resource in many developing countries where they face obstacles preventing from being productive in society.

UN added, involvement in sports has been proven to improve the livelihoods of young people, giving them increased focus and direction and a sense of working together. “Sports — a driver of development — also strengthen teamwork and distracts youth from destructive activities.”

While in South Africa, the youth attended workshops on the promotion of sport for peace and development and take part in the opening of a sports center.