Cricket World Cup raises AIDS awareness
11 March 2007
Amidst celebrations at the opening of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean on Sunday 11 March, players and spectators around the world were asked to reflect on the lives of children and young people living with and affected by HIV in the region.
The message came as part of joint efforts between the International Cricket Council (ICC), UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CMBP) to draw attention to the issues facing children and young people affected by HIV and to highlight the need to step-up action on AIDS in the region.
The Cricket World Cup is the highlight of the cricketing year. More than two billion television viewers are expected to tune in over the next seven weeks to watch 16 teams battle it out for a place in the World Cup final, to be held in Barbados on 28 April.
Through a number of activities to be held over the next seven weeks, the public, especially young people aged 15-24, will get information on stigma and discrimination around HIV and on how to protect themselves against the virus. The partnership is part of the ICC’s commitment to promoting the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ and its positive impact on society and its commitment to support the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign launched in 2005 by UNICEF, UNAIDS and other partners.
“The spirit of cricket is a special part of our game and is a concept that stretches beyond the boundaries of the outfield,” said ICC President Percy Sonn. “We hope the range of activities delivered at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will make a difference to raising awareness and reducing stigma around HIV in the Caribbean and across the ever-growing cricket world,” he added.
A series of video messages supporting the Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS campaign by 28 of the world’s top cricketers, including Australian captain Ricky Ponting and Indian captain Rahul Dravid, will be broadcast on TV and at the matches.
Players and officials from each team will wear the red and blue campaign ribbon during their first games and during the final. Players will also visit programmes in the Caribbean supporting children and young people affected by HIV.
As part of the events around the World Cup, the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS – a coalition of over 50 broadcasters in 23 Caribbean countries and territories – is also launching the region’s first media-led, multi-platform campaign on HIV/AIDS, known as LIVE UP! The campaign aims to inspire the people of the Caribbean, especially young people, to consider what they can do to stem the spread of HIV.
"The exceptional reach of broadcast media in the Caribbean gives us a unique opportunity to educate audiences about how to avoid HIV, and how to combat the stigma and discrimination that surround the disease," noted CBMP Steering Committee Chair Allyson Leacock. "By doing what we do best, communicating with our neighbours, members of the CBMP are helping our audience to remain healthy and well-informed, while we all work together to reduce the impact of HIV in our region."
Sport – a force for change
Cricket is popular in many of the countries that are most impacted by AIDS, including India and South Africa. Together, these two countries are home to around 11 million of the 40 million people living with HIV worldwide.
In the Caribbean, UNAIDS estimated that 250,000 people – 15,000 of whom were children under the age of 15 – were living with HIV in 2006.
“Young people today have never known a world without AIDS. Sports stars – such as top cricket players – can act as role models for today’s young generation and reach out to them on AIDS issues,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot. “Sport is a force for change that can break down barriers, build self-esteem and teach life skills and social behaviour. By highlighting AIDS issues, the ICC Cricket World Cup and its cricketing stars are showing exactly the kind of exceptional response needed for the exceptional challenge of AIDS.”
For more information on the AIDS activities around the Cricket World Cup and to access the public service announcements please visit the following links:
Special page on Cricket World Cup
International Cricket Council
Live Up Campaign
Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS