Worth rooting for: 7 football do-gooders

    These seven active football players are using their celebrity to help create a better world.

    Football is the world’s most popular sport, with half of the world’s 7 billion people considering themselves as fans. No wonder, then, that aid agencies tap major clubs and players in the sport to raise awareness and money toward emergency relief efforts and the global poverty fight.

    “Football is a great leveraging tool for nutrition focus,” said Christy Davis, World Vision regional director for public engagement in South Asia and the Pacific region, during a panel discussion at the Devex Partnerships Forum in Manila on Tuesday.

    In 2013, the international nonprofit along with the Asian Football Confederation and other partners launched the One Goal campaign, which aims to leverage the power and influence of football to address child malnutrition in Asia.

    The bug to be involved in global development has particularly bitten many of the sport’s biggest names.

    For instance, in mid-November 2013, retired English football superstar David Beckham and his wife donated their designer wares to a Red Cross store in London, with proceeds going to the humanitarian group’s Haiyan disaster response. The UNICEF goodwill ambassador also met with survivors of the supertyphoon in central Philippines on Valentine’s Day this year.

    Among active players, some have started their own foundations and are engaged in partnerships with other charities to help children and other vulnerable groups in the developing world. Here are seven of them, all of whom are taking part in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    What do you think is the best way to use sports for social change? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

    About the author

    • Ma. Eliza Villarino

      Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability, and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.

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