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Remarks by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno at the Sports for Development Seminar
Good morning to everyone.  I would like to welcome all of you to the Inter-American Development Bank.

The IDB believes in the power of sports to mobilize the private, public and non-profit sectors to have a positive impact on youth.  In the past two years, the Bank has invested over five million dollars in non-reimbursable financing for this type of initiatives.

We believe that the skills learned on the soccer field can be transformed into skills for life and skills for employment.

Access to education, quality jobs, job training that is relevant to the needs of the market, as well as opportunities for participation and growth throughout a person’s life cycle are all key ingredients to assure that children and youth build rich human capital.

Together we will use our specialized knowledge and experience to work with international, national, and local partners, for the use and development of training and recreation centers in which children and youth can play soccer and become involved in other educational, cultural and recreational activities.


A Ganar/Vencer

In the area of youth development, the Bank continues to expand its commitment to employment training for youth through grant programs like A Ganar/Vencer, a 3.6 million dollar program that uses soccer in three different ways:

  • as an incentive:  At-risk youth, especially those who have not achieved academic success, are motivated to participate in this program, even without financial incentives;
  • as a teaching tool.  A Ganar/Vencer mixes field and classroom activities to teach six soccer-based and market-driven employability skills: teamwork, communication, discipline, respect, a focus on results, and self-improvement; and
  • as a draw for private-sector support.  By demonstrating the economic power of soccer, A Ganar organizes events and sponsorship packages for private enterprises to secure needed investments and program sustainability.  The Nike Foundation has already pledged $1.8 million & Microsoft has pledged $125,000.

By the end of 2008, A Ganar/Vencer will have trained over 3,200 youth in Rio de Janeiro, Quito, and Montevideo.


The Paraguayan Soccer Association and CONMEBOL

In Paraguay the Bank has invested $300,000 in a project developed with the Paraguayan Soccer Association (Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol APF) and CONMEBOL for socially excluded children between the ages of 10 and 17.

The project consists of a competition to finance sport projects for vulnerable boys and girls presented by local soccer clubs with private sector sponsorship working with their schools.

Patricia Zubizarrieta, Director of Program is here from Asuncion.

Streetfootballworld

The Bank is also working on a broader regional project on Sports for Development with the dual objective of assessing the potential of sports as a means to promote life skills and prevent violence among youth, and to develop a strategy for the integration of sports-related initiatives and actors across different Bank supported sectors.

The IDB’s Korean Poverty Reduction Fund has pledged $1 million dollars for the project that will receive matching resources from FIFA, and be executed by Streetfootballworld.

Jurgen Greisbeck, Founder of Streetfootballworld is here from Berlin.

Lessons Learned

As part of these efforts, the Bank has commissioned an inventory of sports-for-development initiatives and the identification of successful models and lessons learned.

We have found that sports play a key role in promoting a range of development objectives from self-esteem and teamwork at the personal level to conflict resolution, violence prevention, and social inclusion at the community level.

Today I would like to welcome Dr. Samuel Bartlett and Dr. Solveig Straume from ECON Analysis and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, from Oslo who will present their findings.

I would also like to thank all of our new partners and experts that have joined us this morning who are here to share the groundbreaking work they are doing in the sports for development field.

Closing remarks

The social commitment of FIFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, Streetfootballworld, and Partners of the Americas combined with the Bank’s ability to work with governments, bring people together through our networks and outreach programs, and our experience in developing social development projects represents a solid platform.

This will not only help to raise awareness of these issues, but also allow us to create programs, policies and investments that can make a real difference in the quality of life of children and youth. 

Through our partnerships, we will be able to expand and develop projects like these to be able to reach out to many more children and youth throughout the region.  I am delighted that we are working together to score more goals for development.

Thank you very much.