Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saving the World. One Goal at a Time.

On Thursday, the Intergovernmental Organization for Renewable Energy honored former Brazilian Striker and current World Cup goal-scoring record holder Ronaldo for his work on securing Brazil’s natural energy reserves. Ronaldo, a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, is also set to be awarded by UNDP for his work with poverty-stricken children in Brazil and Latin America.
The Brazilian star’s recently announced a follow up to 2004’s ‘Match for Peace’ in Haiti only serves to further reinforce his international image. The friendly match will this time be held in Palestine, a region ravaged for decades by conflict and turmoil. Add to this the annual ‘Match for Poverty’ he and French star Zinedine Zidane have organized since 2002 and you have the beginnings of what could be a football-fueled development blitz.

UNDP, FIFA and the stars organize these matches to mobilize the public against poverty and promote the Millennium Development Goals, which collectively aim to halve global poverty by 2015. Ticket sales and proceeds from the previous matches have benefited anti-poverty projects ranging from support of female entrepreneurs to the construction of sports centers for street children and the disadvantaged. Funds have gone to support projects all over the world, from Brazil and Burkina Faso to Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam.

French star Zinedine Zidane, not to be outdone by his Brazilian colleague, recently announced his own ‘Zidane and Friends’ football tour of Canada to raise money for UNICEF and UNDP. The Canadian leg of the Zidane Friendship Tour is a three-city event designed to give Canadian soccer fans the unique opportunity to watch world class football while helping those who need it most. With this kind of star power behind it, UNDP hopes to kick development goals around the world.

For more information, click on the “Match Against Poverty” or the “Zidane and Friends” tour.