With all eyes on South Africa for the world’s biggest football tournament next month, Oxfam is launching Don’t Drop the Ball on Aid, a global game of keepy uppy that will link fans worldwide in an amazing video chain.
Football connects people all around the globe and Oxfam is looking to turn that passion into something genuinely world-changing by asking fans to upload a video of their tricks to the website, www.dontdropaid.org.
The campaign calls on governments not to drop the ball on overseas aid, which helps to pay for kids education, medicines and bednets that save the lives of millions of people who would otherwise die from HIV or malaria.
For added inspiration, the campaign will launch with a video featuring UK freestyle football champion John Whetton and Harry Hardy, the country’s oldest referee, age 83, showing off their keepy uppy skills. “It doesn’t matter if you can do one kick up or 100, it’s about having a bit of a kick about and supporting a good cause, John said.”
Charles Bambara, a former player in the Burkina Faso premier league who works for Oxfam in West Africa, said: “Across the continent, from Algeria to Zambia, football brings a massive ray of hope to people’s lives.
“We want to tap into all of that energy to say: don’t drop the ball, don’t loose sight of the goal, which is to end poverty and make life better for the world’s poorest people.”
The launch of the action comes on the day Oxfam releases a new report, 21st Century Aid, which says that although aid has its faults, it has made a massive difference to the lives of millions of poor people in Africa and beyond. Mozambique – which was the poorest country in the world just 20 years ago – has increased its spending on health care by over half, and in the past decade the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has been reduced by almost 20 %.
The report argues that whilst some money is lost through corruption, rather than cutting aid, it should be used to help reduce corruption and give ordinary people the ability to hold their own government to account.
The rise in scepticism towards aid is giving some rich countries an easy way out of meeting aid commitments, which were originally made 40 years ago, in the same year England defended its World Cup title.