The British and French governments on Thursday are expected to announce that they are partnering with global soccer organizations to increase school enrollment and address HIV/AIDS in Africa, London's Guardian reports. The United Kingdom will commit 500 million pounds, or about $1 billion, to the initiative, which aims to help enroll 16 million African children in school. The initiative will be launched during a summit in London, according to the Guardian.
Under the initiative, the British and French governments will each support eight million children, and the soccer organization FIFA will announce a parallel initiative to recruit soccer players worldwide to help fund school enrollment. The British Premier League will allocate about 480,000 pounds -- or about $960,000 -- in partnership with Sport Relief to support AIDS widows and orphans in Kenya. According to the Guardian, most of the money will go toward subsidies for AIDS orphans to enroll in school. The British Football Association will help to train teachers in Botswana, Lesotho and Malawi as soccer coaches. In addition, the French Ligue Professionnelle de Football and the Federation Francaise de Football will aim to train 3.8 million additional teachers needed to obtain universal primary education by 2015.
According to the British government, the initiative is an essential part of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's efforts to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals -- which include curbing the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Although an additional 41 million places for school enrollment have been created since 2000, about 72 million children of primary school age worldwide, 33 million of whom live in Africa, do not have access to education (Borger, Guardian, 3/27).
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