Twenty young Africans will get the chance of a lifetime to watch the final match of the soccer World Cup in South Africa today, thanks to a United Nations-backed scheme seeking to raise awareness of how young people can help to combat urban poverty.
The young people – from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa – will join Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), at the game between Spain and the Netherlands.
Under an initiative entitled “Youth for a Safer Africa,” the youth will be sponsored by the UN agency and its partners, including non-governmental organization Right to Play and soft drink giant Coca-Cola.
The scheme aims 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.
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 will attend workshops on the promotion of sport for peace and development and take part in the opening of a sports centre.