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OFC & UNICEF renew partnership

Since the start of the partnership in 2013, Just Play – the Oceania Football Confederation’s sport for development programme – has worked alongside UNICEF on several projects, to reach thousands of children through the powerful medium of sport.
Just Play Head of Social Responsibility and International Relations Franck Castillo, says continuing to work alongside UNICEF will ensure the Just Play Programme reaches new levels in 2016.
“We are very pleased to have signed on to continue working alongside UNICEF, as the partnership has delivered many positive results for children,” Castillo says.
“Working alongside this globally renowned organisation provides OFC and the Just Play programme with a powerful platform, helping us to reach more children across the region. Additionally UNICEF’s reputation and history gives our work an added level of credibility and recognition internationally.”
Isabelle Austin, Deputy Representative for UNICEF Pacific, reinforces this positive impact saying: “The partnership with OFC and the Just Play programme is recognized by UNICEF as a critical entry point through which to engage children in the Pacific.”
“By merging the power and potential of sport with broader development objectives, around health, social inclusion, gender and emergencies, Just Play has become an integral part of UNICEF’s efforts to focus on the holistic development of children and communities.”
In 2014 OFC and UNICEF joined forces to promote the “Kick Dengue Out of Fiji” campaign, which ran alongside OFC’s premier international club competition, the OFC Champions League. Later that year Just Play became one of five social responsibility campaigns selected to be part of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, gaining a considerable boost in profile and funding as a result.
In the wake of Cyclone Pam, UNICEF and OFC again used the OFC Champions League as a platform to campaign from, joining forces to support recovery efforts in Vanuatu.
Castillo says working together with UNICEF offers mutual benefits, with Just Play taking advantage of UNICEF’s knowledge in the field of sport for development while Just Play, in turn, offers a gateway into football in Oceania.
“We are not experts in the area of health and wellness, gender, children’s rights, child protection or emergency response, therefore the knowledge and experience UNICEF brings to the table has been vital in helping to improve our work for children,” he says.
“It has also helped us to better monitor and evaluate our work and understand the impact our programme is having on children in the region.”
“We see football as an ideal platform to support the dissemination of positive life messages for children throughout the Oceania region.”
Just Play and UNICEF will launch their latest campaign, targeted at ending violence towards children and women, at the 2016 OFC U-17 Women’s Championship in the Cook Islands in January next year.
About Just Play
The OFC Just Play programme is a sport for development programme that helps children to grow, learn and explore through sport. Just Play gives 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. Through the integration of social messages, Just Play helps children to develop healthy lifestyle habits, encourages gender equality and leaders in the community, promotes social inclusion and insists on sport for all. The OFC Just Play Programme is designed and monitored by the OFC Social Responsibility department, in partnership with the Australian Government, Football Federation Australia, the New Zealand Government, the UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF.For more information on the programme please visit: www.justplayofc.org
About OFC
OFC 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. For more information about OFC or its 11 Member Associations visit: www.oceaniafootball.com
About UNICEF
UNICEF 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 its work visit: www.unicef.org/pacificislands
Story by OFC Media. For morn information go to www.oceaniafootball.com

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