Feature story

ICC and UNAIDS celebrate partnership and look to future

17 November 2008

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Michel Sidibé (right) welcomed International Cricket Council President David Morgan to UNAIDS to discuss their continued partnership on AIDS. Geneva, 17 November 2008. Credit: UNAIDS/D. Bregnard

The President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), David Morgan, today visited the UNAIDS Secretariat in Geneva where he was welcomed by UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Michel Sidibé.

In a meeting with UNAIDS and UNICEF staff the ICC President reaffirmed the Cricket Council’s commitment to the partnership which began in September 2003 when UNAIDS and ICC first teamed up to bring messages of HIV prevention to young people across cricket playing nations. In 2006 UNICEF also joined the partnership which now also supports the “Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS” campaign.

Michel Sidibé reviewed the global successes in the short history of this partnership where through high-profile international events as well as local initiatives, players as well as coaches have spread messages to dispel stigma and misplaced fear and misunderstanding about HIV. He also spoke about the importance of HIV prevention and support services reaching young people.

“We must focus on supporting and working alongside a new generation of young leaders in the AIDS response, including those living with HIV. The work of this partnership can be instrumental in this,” noted Mr Sidibé.

“I would especially like to congratulate the ICC leadership on its commitment to this work and personally thank you for your visit to UNAIDS today.”

(from left): International Cricket Council President David Morgan, UNAIDS Intern Shashank Mane, UNAIDS Youth Intern Korey Chisholm and UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Michel Sidibé. Geneva, 17 November 2008. Credit: UNAIDS/D. Bregnard

A series of Public Service Announcements on HIV have been recorded by leading stars such as Graeme Smith, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for use in stadia at ICC Events and by broadcasters. Activities have taken place at international events including the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 2007. This has included leading players visiting local community projects and wearing red ribbons to show their support for people living with HIV.

A “Cricket HIV and AIDS curriculum” has been developed by the ICC and UNAIDS for players and coaches to help inform young people about HIV and how they can use their influence to make a positive change in their communities. Under the programme “The Captain’s Pledge,” Captains of all Test Cricket playing nations took part in a series of initiatives to help young people understand how HIV is transmitted.

Spirit of Cricket

An interactive discussion on strategic planning for the coming years was led by UNICEF Partnerships Manager, Andres Guerrero.

At the meeting, UNAIDS Youth Intern Korey Chisholm spoke of how sport can be a force for change through breaking down age barriers and building self-esteem. He thanked the ICC for replacing stigma with support. UNAIDS Intern Shashank Mane, from India, also shared his thoughts on the partnership:

“Looking at the influence of cricket in my life, I feel that UNAIDS and the ICC have a lot to offer each other, as well as the world, when it comes to connecting young people through sports with AIDS awareness.”

“The influence of cricket is growing around the world; unfortunately, AIDS continues to be transmitted as well. I could not think of a better way to spread HIV prevention messages and to eradicate HIV-related stigma and discrimination than through a partnership such as this one.”