Football matches for Sahel crisis awareness set

    Football matches will be held throughout Europe on March 31 and April 1 as part of a broad campaign to raise awareness about the looming food crisis in Africa’s Sahel region.

    This European Match Day Against Hunger will be the highlight of the “Professional Football Against Hunger” initiative launched Feb. 28 by the European Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association for European Professional Football Leagues in Brussels, Belgium.

    The timing of the Match Day coincides with the 20th anniversary of the EU’s humanitarian aid department, or ECHO. It will bring together top European football leagues such as the U.K.’s Premier League and Football League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. Some 300 professional football clubs are expected to participate.

    Aside from the matches, the campaign will include field visits by football stars such as Spanish player and FAO goodwill ambassador Raul Gonzales. There will also be exhibitions and fairs, and activities through social media channels to highlight the situation in Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Niger.

    The campaign seeks to highlight how the EU and FAO is responding to the crisis in Sahel. The European Commission, for one, has pledged some €275 million ($370 million) to support humanitarian and development activities in the region this year.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.