As Asia’s top football teams battle it out for the 2015 Asian Cup, 150 children from across Sydney will compete at the Dream Asia Unity Football Festival in support of One Goal – a campaign that uses football as the catalyst to improve the nutritional status of children in Asia and Australia.
The football festival will take place from Wednesday 21 to Friday 23 January at the Hockey Centre at Sydney’s Olympic Park and will combine soccer, family entertainment and health promotion and education.
A key aspect of the festival will be the One Goal AFC Asian Cup Legacy Forum on Friday, which will gather football, civil society, government, academics and food industry stakeholders to discuss child malnutrition in Australia and across Asia.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay said the AFC was proud to be in Australia working alongside World Vision to level the nutritional playing field for children in the region.
“World Vision has programs in the majority of AFC’s member associations,” he said. “We’re excited to be working together through One Goal to help make the right kind of nutrition a reality for children in the region.”
Football Federation of Australia (FFA) chief executive officer David Gallop said the football festival tournament allowed the children of Sydney to emulate the success of their Socceroo role models on the field.
“It’s great to see the spirit of the Asian Cup alive and well in Sydney,” Mr Gallop said. “Nutritious food and exercise enables the Socceroos to play at their best and similarly at the football festival, kids will learn that this is the key to growing up healthy and strong.”
Football United chief executive Anne Bunde-Birouste said the festival would unite children from different backgrounds in pursuit of one shared goal.
“This festival aims to highlight football’s capacity to promote inclusion, a healthy and active lifestyle and the chance to support youth to become champions in life and in football,” Ms Bunde-Birouste said.
“The tournament reflects Australia’s extraordinary multicultural diversity, uniting girls and boys aged between 13 and 15 from more than 50 different backgrounds including Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America as well as Indigenous and Australian-born youth.”
World Vision Australia chairman George Savvides said World Vision Australia was proud to be working alongside its One Goal partners to make nutrition for every child in the region an achievable reality.
“One Goal is an opportunity for World Vision to build a long-term sustainable partnership with our Asian Cup partners to help kids across the region get the best possible start to life.”
Lawrence Haddad co-chair of the Independent Expert Group for the Global Nutrition Report said despite its economic dynamism, Asia still contained over half of all the world's 160 million stunted infants.
“These children are more likely to die before their fifth birthday,” Mr Haddad said. “Those that survive will not thrive—they will learn less in school, earn less in the workforce and be more prone to diabetes and heart disease in later life. We know what to do to end this - expand the coverage of nutrition programs by making nutrition a political priority."
One Goal funds will support World Vision’s health and nutrition projects in Australia, Nepal, Vietnam, Mongolia and India that promote exclusive breast-feeding education, improved access to nutritious foods and sports for development programs.
One Goal spokespeople are available for interviews.
Media contact: World Vision Australia: Kayla Robertson – 0418 762 926 | firstname.lastname@example.org About One Goal:
One Goal is a partnership initiative of World Vision, Asian Football Confederation, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, DSM, and Asian Football Development Project that has one goal: Nutrition for every child. With football as the catalyst, One Goal seeks to bring awareness to the issue of child malnutrition in Asia and Australia and powerfully inspire and mobilise the football community to take action to increase the number of children in the region who survive and thrive. For more information visit www.onegoal.asia.
Football United creates chances for youth from disadvantaged communities, using football to contribute to community and social cohesion, and capacity building for culturally and linguistically diverse people and their communities. (http://www.footballunited.org.au/)
About the partners:
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA. The AFC is now headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and consists of 46 Member Associations and one Associate Member Association. Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain is the AFC President and Dato’ Alex Soosay is the AFC General Secretary. (http://www.the-afc.com)
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. (http://www.wvi.org)
The Asian Football Development Project is a not-for-profit Youth Commission founded in January 2012. AFDP provides Asian football organisations and development organisations using football as a tool for social development with needs-based assistance. (http://www.the-afdp.com)
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition(GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. Created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children, GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier. (http://www.gainhealth.org)
Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders. (http://www.dsm.com)