We are 160 girls and boys, aged between 12 and 24 years old, coming from Brazil, Mongolia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, South Korea, Ethiopia, Australia, Germany and Canada to participate in the World Vision Cup football tournament. We gathered here in Recife, to represent children and youth from different parts of the world, to share the issues we face day-to-day in our communities, and to also make recommendations for overcoming these issues, using football games as a main mobilising event.
We were called by World Vision, a non-governmental Christian organization working in more than 90 countries, since 1950, to transform the reality of children that live in the poorest communities, and to change unequal and unfair structures. World Vision is an organisation committed to eradicate poverty and social exclusion.
The World Vision football cup takes place just before the football World Cup and intends to take the opportunity of the international visibility coming from the World Cup to draw attention on the problems that affect children and youth in Brazil, and throughout the world. The event is promoted by World Vision and its local partners, and was supported by Telefonica Foundation, Mastercard, and the General Secretariat of the Brazilian Government.
Over the last five months, in preparation for the World Vision Cup, we have met together in our respective countries to discuss the problems that affect our development and have prepared recommendations that were discussed with the other groups from other countries.
We, as adolescents and youth representing 12 countries, would like to recognise the progress made with regards to public policies that are impacting children and youth in our countries.
We acknowledge that:
- Every country represented here recognised the rights of children and youth, and has signed the International Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- Many of our countries have been making great efforts to provide better health services for children;
- Many policies and programs are focused on strengthening and valuing local culture, diversity, and promoting gender equality;
- There are peace building initiatives in schools to fight bullying;
- There are many civil societies and government efforts to prevent domestic violence which affects children and youth;
- NGOs have built programs and initiated projects to train and build the capacity of youth.
However, despite this progress, children and young people still do not have the minimum necessary conditions for reaching their full potential, due to:
- Lack of appropriate health conditions, which leads to hunger, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse;
- Violence issues such as neglect, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, child labour, violence against women, drug trafficking, high levels of suicide amongst teenagers and youth, bullying, prejudice and discrimination against visible minorities. All of these are making children and youth vulnerable;
- Lack of investment in education and economic development. This leads teenagers and youth to experience many difficulties in their professional development and may force people to migrate. This also leads to a high level of youth unemployment and to precarious and/or bad labour conditions.
Therefore, we recommend:
- Enhancement of health conditions for children and young people through a universal public health systems that priorities children, attention of authorities to youth that are addicted to drugs, investment in public policies and programs focusing reproductive and sexual health of young people;
- Strengthening the technologies of small rural farmers, which enables access to proper nutritional development of children;
- Investment in public policies focused on education, promotion of actions against bullying and better university access for youth;
- Policies promoting better inclusion of youth in the job market, jobs with secure legal conditions and more services, and opportunities for youth living in rural communities;
- Encouraging and recognising the cultural contribution of youth within their cultures, so that youth may obtain income for their work;
- More opportunities for children and youth participation in planning, building and monitoring public policies, with equal rights and participation for girls and boys;
- Prioritisation of policies that attend to the needs of ethnic minorities.
We reaffirm our commitment to fight for a world without violence and with more opportunities for children and young people, and we request the attention of Brazilian authorities, as well as from our respective countries, for the requests above, certain of your commitment.
Young people from World Vision Cup football tournament
Read posts by youth footballers from the World Vision Cup: Nardu Welsh (Australia) Our passion for football and changing the world brought us together, Alex Foto (Canada) Football shows us we can change the world, and Björn Becker (Germany) "We connected through football"