During yesterday’s Dutch celebration of World Water Day a new Public Private Partnership called “Football for Water, Sanitation & Hygiene” (Football for WASH) was launched. Over the next four years the programme will bring drinking water and sanitation facilities to 1,100 schools in Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique. The programme also sees members of the Dutch Soccer Union’s WorldCoaches network provide education about hygiene and handwashing to some 700,000 children, during football training in these countries. Since 1997, WorldCoaches have acted as role models and provide life skills to African school kids, with the backing of the Dutch national soccer team.

Photo: Ben Knapen, Dutch secretary of state of Foreign Affairs, talks about Football for WASH. Wageningen, Netherlands. Thursday 22 March 2012.

Most people who watch football games in the Netherlands aren’t aware of Dutch development aid initiatives. So a goal of Football for WASH is to use football matches to bring the reality of these local African projects back home to the Netherlands –  to the Dutch general public and especially kids between 12 and 18 years. Akvo Really Simple Reporting (Akvo RSR) will be used to share the stories and updates about the progress of the programme.

Football for WASH is a partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch Royal Soccer Union, UNICEF, Simavi, Vitens Evides International, Aqua for All and Akvo. 50% of the funding is allocated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The director of the Dutch Soccer Union (KNVB) Bert van Oostveen presented the objectives of the partnership and school kids in soccer uniform of the three countries showed some banners to give some flavour of the Football for WASH program. Ben Knapen, the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, also talked about the partnership and his hopes for it. Public private partnerships related to development cooperation are a priority in Dutch development cooperation and this is a great example of a new wave of initiatives coming through.

The Prince of Orange and Dutch football personalities Ruud Krol and Ruud Gullit congratulated the organisations and wished them all the best working together. The Prince said he was delighted to see two important strong Dutch ingredients working together: Water and Football.

Photo: Members of the new consortium with Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange. Left to right: Frodo van Oostveen (Akvo), Madelon Cabooter (Unicef), Eva van Rijen (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – DGIS), Ruud Krol (WorldCoaches), Rolien Sasse (Simavi), Prince of Orange, Johan van Geijn (WorldCoaches), Ruud Gullit (WorldCoaches), Gerhard van den Top (Viten Evides International), Sjef Ernes (Aqua for All),  Dick van Ginhoven (DGIS).

During the coming four months (inception phase) all organisations will work together to refine the plan and set first milestones. We are looking forward to it!

Click for a news article of the Dutch Soccer Union.
Click for a news article of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

By Frodo van Oostveen, Partnership Manager Akvo

Update on 26 March 2012: Titled changed.