Football’s positive impact gains momentum at annual Conference
Wednesday, October 30 2019
Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) ambitions to maximise the power and passion for football to inspire hope and strengthen communities across Asia was further underlined today at the second AFC Social Responsibility Conference 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In his opening speech, AFC Social Responsibility Committee Chairman, Mr. Zaw Zaw said: “The AFC has always placed significant emphasis on using football as an enabler for social development. Asia is a vast Continent with its unique set of challenges and by bringing everyone together, this conference aims to increase our chances for success.
“Across the Continent, we are seeing the incredible impact of football to inspire hope not only with the AFC’s activities and programmes, but through the concerted efforts of all our stakeholders - our Member Associations, NGO, as well as corporate partners.
“Our partnership is stronger than ever, and we are in the best possible position to fulfil our purpose to empower communities and ensure the game continues to create a meaningful legacy on those who need it the most.”
The landmark conference kicked off with a strong focus on one of the five AFC social responsibility pillars – children and youth. Led by FIFA Senior Child Safeguarding and Protection Manager, Ms. Kathryn Leslie, delegates were presented with an in-depth overview on the new FIFA Child Safeguarding Programme and Toolkit launched in July this year.
Participants also gleaned insights on the SCORT Foundation’s highly successful Young Coach Education programme in Vietnam before representatives from UNICEF Malaysia and Indochina Starfish Foundation from Cambodia, joined the engaging dialogue alongside FIFA, on the best practices and approaches to ensure stronger child safeguarding measures in sport.
Marc-Andre Buchwalder from Scort Foundation said: “It is good to have all the people working on social responsibility projects in one room. This is a good opportunity for them to discuss, meet and exchange ideas. It is vital through this conference for staff in different Member Associations to talk to the organisations and key speakers to understand what they are trying to accomplish.”
Social inclusion was another key theme of the conference with an inspiring presentation by Mr. Brian Suskiewicz, from Coaches Across Continents, who shared the remarkable work undertaken to empower the Rohingya community from the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
The year-long project, conducted in partnership with the AFC, UNHCR, the Bangladesh Football Federation and the Football Association of England, has been instrumental in strengthening the capabilities and pool of football coaches, who in turn, are spreading the joys of the game to nearly 10,000 children directly under their care.
Other speakers include representatives from the India Blind Sports Association (IBSA) and Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) and Mongolian Football Federation on life chaging projects in their countries.
Deputy General Secretary of the Mongolian Football Federation Munkhzul Chuluunbat said: “This Conference gives a platform to everyone to learn from one another. Through football we can achieve and reach out to different communities. I’m delighted to be invited by the AFC to share MFF’s social responsibility initiatives. I hope this conference will motivate more MAs to create social responsibility programmes in their country.”
The Conference concluded on a high note with the Chinese Football Association sharing their plans on utilising the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 as a catalyst to maximise the social and health of the hundreds of millions as the country prepares to stage Asia’s most prestigious football tournament in 2023.
News and pictures are courtesy from AFC