Changing Lives Through Football and the World Cup 2022
Qatar's overarching hope as hosts of the 2022 World Cup, aside from delivering one of the best tournaments in history as the first Arab nation and Middle Eastern country to do so, is to provide a cross-border legacy that will last for generations. They aim to use the games to improve lives, especially for those less fortunate or marginalised by society. Qatar's World Cup legacy is designed to create opportunities for all regardless of age, gender, geography, or economics through a host of social programmes organised and delivered at home and abroad. One of the initiatives established to help achieve their objectives is the Generation Amazing programme. In a recent interview, Nasser Ahmed Al Khori, Generation Amazing's Programme Director, spoke about the power of football and sport to change people's lives…
FIFA is a passionate advocate of using football as a platform for change. They have long been vocal about the power of football to bring people together and have a positive impact on society. However, aside from the short-term economic and social benefits of the tournament, it is the opportunity to deliver longer-lasting benefits by harnessing the hype and excitement that this event generates that FIFA is particularly ardent about.
Qatar's legacy goals are closely aligned to FIFA's overall ethos of using the game's power to improve lives, create economic opportunities and improve world health. From the moment they announced their bid, Qatar has been striving to ensure that the influence of their World Cup reaches far and wide and beyond the final whistle of the 2022 games. They are achieving their goals by including facets of legacy into each delivery project for the World Cup and through specific legacy programmes: to support and strengthen local, regional and global unity, promote healthier lifestyles, and increase opportunities for all in sports, education, and employment.
The Generation Amazing programme, established in 2010, is just one initiative being used to drive social change and sustainable social development. As Al Khori recently noted, Generation Amazing is "a tool for positive change in disadvantaged communities".
The Generation Amazing programme aims to address social needs and issues in disadvantaged communities through engagement with young people, the construction of community football pitches, and the delivery of comprehensive 'football for development' training. The programme seeks to challenge prevalent issues such as gender inequality, social exclusion, poor health and well-being, and lack of educational and employment opportunities.
As part of the Generation Amazing programme, a host of initiatives have been and continue to be launched. The programme teams work with a myriad of not-for-profit and 'football for good' organisations, supporting and enhancing new and ongoing social development programmes.
The construction of football pitches and the strengthening of sports infrastructure provides access to sport to many in need. The infrastructure offers a physical space for socialising, exercise and, for many, a much-needed break from the struggles of daily life. However, combined with 'football for development' training and the engagement of young people, life skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication, and social skills such as self-confidence, respect and inclusion are taught and transferred across communities. The overall goal is to unify young people and provide them with the skills to help them improve their circumstances.
A long term advocate of outreach programmes, Al Khori, said that he has witnessed first-hand in his role as Programme Director how the initiative "changes people's lives for the better in unimaginable ways". He also said that "it was very rewarding to see the impact and change in (the programmes) young leaders through the football for development programme".
A Continuing Legacy
The initiatives established through the Generation Amazing programme have been successfully entrenched in Qatar and a host of countries across the Middle East. Worldwide initiatives have been launched in underprivileged communities in the developed world and some of the world's most deprived communities in the developing world, such as those in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Nepal, Pakistan, Kuwait, Oman, India and the Philippines. Initiatives have also been set up in some of the largest and most deprived refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa. To date, some 725,000 people have benefited from the programme. However, the benefits of those programmes won't stop when the World Cup's final whistle blows. As noted by Al Khori, "Generation Amazing aims to continue to use football and sport to transform people's lives for the better".
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