The Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony will be the first to feature a Commonwealth-wide fundraiser for children and the UNICEF Pacific partnership with the OFC Just Play Programme will benefit through money raised.
VFF Just Play Project Manager Rorona Kalsakau (L) with Just Playparticipants who will benefit from the Commonwealth-widefundraiser. Credit: UNICEF Pacific
International singing superstar Nicole Scherzinger and Scottish football legend Sir Alex Ferguson are two of the star-studded names who will appear in the global fundraising first at the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony on 23 July.Glasgow 2014, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and UNICEF have forged a ground-breaking partnership – with the ambition of improving the lives of children in every country in the Commonwealth by raising money for the Children of the Commonwealth Fund, in the run-up to and during the Games. Spectators, athletes and an expected one billion viewers from across the Commonwealth will all have the chance to play their part in the ceremony and be invited to Put Children First, by making a donation via a text number or url which will create a powerful Games legacy for children.Immediately benefitting from the fundraising efforts in the lead up to and during Glasgow 2014 will be six UNICEF programmes, one in each region of the Commonwealth, including UNICEF Pacific’s partnership with OFC’s Just Play Programme.“It is a huge honour for Just Play to be chosen as one of six global UNICEF-supported partners as part of this ground-breaking partnership with Glasgow 2014,” says OFC Head of Social Responsibility and International Relations Franck Castillo.“Making sport fun is the main philosophy guiding Just Play. We recognise that children who have a positive experience in physical activity early on in life are more likely to develop good exercise habits as they get older.” Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative, said: “We see this as a critical link to helping to reduce risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, an issue that is affecting many communities within this region.”Through Just Play, UNICEF Pacific and OFC give a child a ball, a coach and a safe place to play. The programme shows children how to have fun with other children, be physically active and become confident in their abilities. With a focus on children aged 6-12 years, Just Play encourages participation in football-related activities, while also addressing social issues relevant to the Pacific.The programme has reached over 150,000 children, trained 2,741 community volunteers and teachers and created 55 new jobs in 11-Pacific Islands countries.Recognised as the leading sport for development programme in the Pacific, Just Play is working with key stakeholders including the Australian Government (Australian Aid and Australia Sports Commission), the Football Federation of Australia, UEFA and UNICEF Pacific to increase its programme scope and reach.Thanks to UNICEF’s partnership with Glasgow 2014 and the Commonwealth Games Federation, Just Play and its achievements in the Pacific will be showcased to the wider Commonwealth community – as one of the programmes being supported by this unique partnership. With the ambition of improving the lives of children in all regions of the world the Children of the Commonwealth Fund, in the run-up to and during the Games will raise money with the public’s support.Over the past three months Scherzinger, Ferguson and a host of other stars have been exploring different regions of the Commonwealth to witness UNICEF’s life-changing work first hand.Exclusive footage which captures the stars and the children they met across the Commonwealth will feature in the Opening Ceremony, culminating in this unique and unifying fundraising moment.“Young people throughout the Commonwealth are at the heart of the ambitions of the Games,” says Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive David Grevemberg.“This is a ground-breaking and profoundly important opportunity for the people of the Commonwealth to come together to put their children first and improve lives.”For more information on the Just Play programme please visit: www.unicef.org/pacificislands and www.justplayofc.org About OFCOFC is charged with the task of servicing and administering football in the Oceania region while also using the game as a tool for social development. The confederation is led by OFC President David Chung who was elected to office in 2011.The Just Play Programme is designed and monitored by the OFC Social Responsibility department, in partnership with the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission, Football Federation Australia, UEFA and UNICEF. For more information about OFC or its 11 Member Associations visit: oceaniafootball.com About UNICEFUNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and our work in the Pacific visit: unicefpacific.org