One goal

AFc kicks off a cam­paign to tackle mal­nu­tri­tion among asian chil­dren.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BRATS - By SHERRINDER KAUR brats@thes­tar.com.my

TO many peo­ple, foot­ball is a beau­ti­ful game, while to some, it’s just 22 peo­ple chas­ing a ball around. But on the eve of the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion (AFC) An­nual Awards night, foot­ball proved to be so much more than a game.

The AFC, in part­ner­ship with the Asian Foot­ball Devel­op­ment Project (AFDP), World Vi­sion, Royal DSM and Global Al­liance for Im­proved Nu­tri­tion (GAIN), launched the One Goal cam­paign, a move­ment that aims to tackle (pun in­tended) the is­sue of mal­nu­tri­tion among Asian chil­dren. Asia is home to 578 mil­lion of the one bil­lion mal­nour­ished peo­ple around the world.

“Sixty per­cent of the world’s stunted chil­dren live in Asia to­day. This is un­ac­cept­able, and it is some­thing we want to change,” said

Eric Drosin, Royal DSM com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor. The or­gan­is­ers aim to keep the cam­paign go­ing for the next 10 years, and to reach at least 400 mil­lion peo­ple. It also aims to get at least 35 na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions and nu­tri­tion pro­grammes in­volved, and to raise a bil­lion dol­lars a year to help the mil­lions of chil­dren around Asia suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion as well as its ef­fects, such as obe­sity and stunted growth.

“The rea­son it’s 10 years is be­cause the is­sue we’re deal­ing with – nu­tri­tion for ev­ery child in Asia – is a long-term in­vest­ment. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not a 90-minute foot­ball game. But in­vest­ments you make now will en­sure chil­dren will reach their full po­ten­tial not only in foot­ball, but in life as well,” added Drosin.

One Goal cam­paign am­bas­sadors Deb­o­rah Henry, Miss Uni­verse Malaysia 2011, and FC Seoul and South Korea mid­fielder Ha Dae-Sung launched the cam­paign to­gether re­cently by sign­ing a foot­ball.

“I be­lieve aware­ness is the first step to­wards ac­tion, and this cam­paign of­fers the per­fect plat­form, One­Goal.Asia (the cam­paign web­site).

“Foot­ball touches the lives of those liv­ing in vil­lages, in slums, in cities, the priv­i­leged and the dis­ad­van­taged. It is a uni­fy­ing force,” said Henry.

Ha added that his team­mates were all ex­cited to sup­port the effort how­ever they can. “Good nu­tri­tion is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to build­ing a foun­da­tion in society and in our chil­dren,” he said.

Stu­art Ra­ma­lingam, AFC’s direc­tor of mar­ket­ing and so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion wanted to al­low the power of the game to com­mu­ni­cate so­cial change.

“A foot­ball or­gan­i­sa­tion is not just re­spon­si­ble for the game but society at large. It is the fans, the peo­ple around us, even the stake­hold­ers,” he said. “Nu­tri­tion is only one is­sue, but we are work­ing with other or­gan­i­sa­tions to com­mu­ni­cate other so­cial is­sues that do not re­late specif­i­cally to foot­ball.”

Stu­art also shared their plans to im­ple­ment the cam­paign through their 47 mem­ber or­gan­i­sa­tions, leagues and AFC com­pe­ti­tions, such as the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 in Viet­nam and the Men’s Asian Cup 2015 in Aus­tralia, where the cam­paign would be driven by fes­tiv­i­ties and con­fer­ences.

World Vi­sion com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Jayanth Vin­cent ex­plained that the idea was to start out in Asia, learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence and then ex­pand to other re­gions. They are also look­ing for dif­fer­ent ways to fur­ther fund the cam­paign, such as through cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual dona­tions.

For more in­for­ma­tion, head over to www. one­goal.asia. Show your sup­port by sign­ing

up on their web­site!

FC Seoul and South Korea mid­fielder Ha Dae-Sung and lo­cal celebrity Deb­o­rah Henry at the launch of the One Goal Cam­paign, which hopes to tackle mal­nu­tri­tion among chil­dren in Asia.

For­mer charl­ton ath­letic and celtic mid­fielder Zheng Zhi, the reign­ing aFc player of the year, has also

pledged his sup­port to the One Goal cam­paign.

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