FIFA officials, alongside students, teachers, coaches and icons, attended the ceremony at IPRC- Kicukiro football pitch in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.
It is one of the side events of the 73rd FIFA congress due in Rwanda on Thursday, during which FIFA President Gianni Infantino is expected to seek re-election.
The “Football for Schools” is part of a worldwide FIFA program to be implemented in partnership with host governments and UNESCO, with the target to reach 700 million children across the globe.
In Rwanda, the program targets over 4,000 learning institutions in the next four years, according to the Rwandan Ministry of Sports.
With investment worth 100 million U.S. dollars, the program will be implemented through a partnership between the Rwandan ministries of Sports and Education as well as the local football governing body FERWAFA.
“The Football for School Program comes as a contributor to Rwanda’s vision of being a sports hub and there is no better way than starting with children,” Rwandan Minister of Sports Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju said at the ceremony.
According to the ministry, schools provide an effective and efficient way to engage young people in sport, especially in countries without effective club structures.
The program seeks to ensure access to football for all players without discrimination.
“We are proud to launch this milestone. This program fits in the government’s will to promote inclusiveness in sports,” said Munyangaju.
Under the program, FIFA will provide sporting equipment, including 20,000 footballs to schools since it is a challenge in many schools, said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.