UNAIDS Protect the Goal campaign tour kicks-off in South Africa
GENEVA/JOHANNESBURG, 5 March 2014—The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in cooperation with the Tobeka Madiba Zuma Foundation (TMZF) and the South African Football Association Development Agency (SDA), have announced the kick-off of the Protect the Goal world tour. Protect the Goal, which was first launched at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, is a campaign to raise awareness around HIV prevention and encourage young people to get actively involved in both the national and global response to HIV.
“I'm honored to join forces with SDA and UNAIDS in the AIDS response," said Madame Tobeka Madiba Zuma, whose foundation is a co-sponsor of the Protect the Goal campaign. "I want to help reach as many young people around Africa as I can. While we need to begin with HIV awareness, we also need to deliver HIV testing and treatment to many young people who need our help."
The official world tour kick-off event was held at the Soccer City Stadium, the largest stadium in Africa, during the South Africa-Brazil international friendly game. The world tour will continue its journey through the five African countries—Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria—whose national teams have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The event also provided an opportunity to announce Kweku Mandela and Ndaba Mandela as global spokespersons for Protect the Goal. The objectives of the campaign are to use the popularity and convening power of sport to unite the world for the goal of an AIDS-free generation. The campaign also raises awareness and support for UNAIDS’ vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
“We are proud to be working with our South African partners in a rapidly evolving environment for mobilizing the global football community against AIDS,” said Dr. Djibril Diallo, Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of UNAIDS.
The campaign has garnered support from around the world. UNAIDS has signed cooperation agreements with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Association (CONMEBOL), and Asia Football Confederation (AFC).
In Africa, UNAIDS and partners, including youth leaders, have disseminated HIV prevention messages on large electronic screens to football fans in stadiums and fan zones during games, including the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Africa’s most prestigious football tournament.
In Asia, UNAIDS, in cooperation with the Asian Football Confederation and the Asian Development Bank, are engaged in a partnership to enhance awareness of HIV, improve access to HIV prevention and treatment, and work to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination in five pilot countries, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.
CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, has also promoted the campaign in the framework of major sporting events. During the Gold Cup soccer tournament the captains of the national football teams of the United States and Panama pledged to raise awareness of HIV in the football community.
Globally, an estimated 5.4 million adolescents and young people are living with HIV, and 1.8 million are eligible for HIV treatment. Millions of young people living with HIV do not know they living with the virus, and every day, approximately 2100 adolescents and young people become newly infected, which accounts for 36% of all new HIV infections globally.
As part of the Protect the Goal Campaign, UNAIDS, TMZF, SDA and Grassroot Soccer, a South African-based, non-profit organization that uses football to educate young people about HIV, will stage a promotional event at the Alexandra Football for Hope Centre on 6 March. The centre provides young people with a safe space to learn about HIV prevention. As part of the event branded footballs of the Protect the Goal campaign will be distributed to underprivileged communities.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners to maximize results for the AIDS response. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.