FIFA, the world governing body of football, has allocated an impressive US$100 million (over RWF100 billion) to ensure the successful implementation of the Football for Schools (F4S) program in Rwanda.
The official launch of the program comes just 72 hours before the FIFA 73 Congress in Kigali.
The aim of the project is to make football accessible to boys and girls around the world by integrating football activities into the education system in partnership with authorities and relevant stakeholders to contribute to children’s education, development and empowerment.
The program aims to reach over 4,000 schools in Rwanda to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of nearly 700 million children worldwide.
On launch day, over 100 children and 40 teachers/coaches will take part in a highly visual event. Many FIFA representatives will be present, including program director Fatmata Sidibe.
The Football for Schools program aims to enhance the skills and life skills acquired through football and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other priorities.
In April 2019, FIFA delegates met with then Minister of Sport Esperance Nirasafari in Kigali with the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and discussed the football development programme.
In Rwanda, the program is implemented through a partnership between MINISPORTS/MINEDUC and the Rwanda Football Management Authority (FRUFA). Schools remain the most effective and efficient way to get young people involved in sports.
While FIFA and its member associations support the many national associations and clubs that compete in leagues, FIFA works with UNESCO to ensure that school children have opportunities. This is especially important in countries that do not have an effective club structure.
F4S aims to ensure that football is available to all students without discrimination. Anyone who wants to play soccer should know that it is possible to do so through their school or community using the facilities available in the country.
While the main mission of this program is to support the provision of football training and equipment to schools, FIFA encourages member associations and partners in the country to recognize the importance of working with young people outside of school.
As many schools lack the equipment and qualified staff to conduct football activities, FIFA provides the equipment (footballs) through the Masters, as well as an online learning platform and a mobile app with user-friendly content for the training sessions.
The platform aims to help teachers, coaches and parents to better support, implement and manage F4S activities in their schools and communities.
The Football for Schools program can empower schools to address a range of societal issues while providing an engaging way to engage and educate students and even motivate teachers.