AFC signs social development partnership with IFRC

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Football Confederation’s Tuesday has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) – the world’s largest international humanitarian organisation. 

The MoU strengthens the foundations and partnerships of the AFC Dream Asia Foundation, which was launched in March this year, the continent's football governing body declared during the signing ceremony at its headquarters here Tuesday.

The agreement marks the AFC’s second partnership with the world’s leading humanitarian and social development organisations, following a similar agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in June.

The MoU combines the AFC’s objective of undertaking effective social responsibility campaigns and the IFRC’s commitment to ‘Partner for more resilient communities’. The AFC is joining the IFRC’s ‘One Billion Coalition for Resilience, global initiative, enabling one billion people to take active steps to work towards a world where everyone is safer, healthier and can thrive, even in the face of adversity.

Speaking at the opening of the signing agreement, AFC general secretary Windsor John said: “Football continues to serve as a powerful platform to empower the most vulnerable segments of society and unite communities all across the Continent.

“Drawing on the networks of world’s leading organisations, we want to plant the seeds of hope to grow opportunities for the most marginalised people in Asia to live more meaningful lives through the joys of the beautiful game.

“Today’s partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross brings to life our aspirations under the banner of One Asia, One Goal.”

Xavier Castellanos, IFRC regional director for Asia Pacific, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for two organisations with the biggest reach in the region to foster behaviour change, both on a personal level and in our communities.

“We are laying the foundation for increased opportunities between AFC members, all those who love football in Asia and nine million Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers who work tirelessly to help their communities be stronger and better prepared for threats they face.

“Each year we support 70 million people during emergencies. We commit to safer and more socially inclusive communities in Asia. This partnership will serve to make our communities stronger,” Mr Castellanos said.

Through the AFC Dream Asia Foundation, the cooperation will provide a framework for regional collaboration between the AFC, its Member Associations, the IFRC and its National Societies across Asia.

It will pave the way to create a positive impact in three collaborative areas, including expanding a culture of safety across the region, supporting emergency assistance and disaster response as well as the promotion of social inclusion, non-violence and peace through football.

The AFC Dream Asia Foundation was introduced in March 2017 as a way of providing efficient, effective and transparent aid to deserving communities across Asia.

The AFC, in conjunction with One World Play Project, won the Gold medal at the Sport Industry Asia (SPIA) Awards in Bangkok in October 2016 for the Ultra-Durable Ball programme which has benefited millions of children and young people in 31 of the AFC's Member Associations.