In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) (FIFA.com) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are launching the Sport for Mental Health and Social Cohesion (SMHSC) programme.
Through the SMHSC programme, AFD, FIFA and GIZ are joining forces to tackle the negative social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in selected countries in Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda), Asia (Indonesia, Pakistan, India), Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador), the Middle East (Jordan, Lebanon, Northern Iraq) and the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Serbia).
Funding initiatives between EUR 10,000 and EUR 30,000, the SMHSC programme is aimed at pre-identified structures. The projects will target vulnerable groups (children and young people, girls and women, and refugees, among others) particularly affected by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus will be on the following topics: mental health, well-being and social cohesion, and the projects will be deployed over a maximum duration of six months starting in January 2022. All sports are eligible. Projects involving football and/or aimed at people with disabilities will be given priority.
The NGO La Guilde Européenne du Raid is implementing the programme. The selection process will include the following main phases:
Pre-identified organisations will be invited to apply through a registration form.
30 to 50 shortlisted candidates will be invited to pursue Phase 2 of the programme by completing a dedicated detailed online project submission form.
The applications of the pre-identified organisations will be examined by teams from AFD, FIFA, GIZ, external experts and the programme managers. The list of selected projects (ten to 15 winners, at least one per target region) will be communicated by mid-December 2021.
Kenny Jean-Marie – FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer said: “We are proud to enter into this partnership once again with AFD and this time with the contribution GIZ as a new partner. It gives us the opportunity to reach new regions of the world and to benefit from new expertise.
"It is important for FIFA to continue such initiatives that allow us to respond to one of the objectives of our vision which is to impact society through the power of football. During the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA has not hesitated to support this social cohesion programme, the objective of which is to reach out to more vulnerable communities. We want to be truly global and want to leave no one behind.”
Jens Elsner, GIZ Head of Programme, Sport for Development added: “The current pandemic challenged all of us and exacerbated existing inequalities. Children and youth have especially been affected. More than ever, it became evident how sport can improve mental health and psychosocial well-being, build resilience and support recovery from traumatic experiences.
"Only as a team can we build back better. We therefore very much welcome this partnership with AFD and FIFA to support local communities and vulnerable youth in our partner countries and increase the impact of sport as a tool for social development all around the world.”
The last word went to Laëtitia Habchi – AFD, Head of Social Link Division who said: “We are delighted to strengthen our ambitious partnership with FIFA and this time with GIZ for this call for projects as part of the Sport for Mental Health and Social Cohesion programme.
"Our teams are ready to put their expertise and commitment at the service of project leaders who share our conviction that sport is a privileged tool for supporting local communities affected by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this call for projects, we wish to contribute to social cohesion and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FIFA.