Kicking balls for a better life

Cyril Pellevat Head of Administration, UEFA Foundation for children


Sports for Development as a successful tool to create employment and prevent irregular migration

Globally, more than 59 million young people are unemployed and nearly 136 million of those who are working live in poverty. Young people are often denied decent employment opportunities or the possibility of setting up their own businesses due, for example, to skills mismatches or a lack of access to finance.

Such barriers to employment and entrepreneurship stand in the way of young people applying their skills, making their voices heard, actively shaping society, and creating an environment of decent work and successful trade that works for them.


This is where Sports for Development kicks in. Since 2018, the UEFA Foundation for Children, streetfootballworld, Kick4Life and FedEx Express have worked together with the International Trade Centre on the Kick for Trade programme.

The project ensures that youth are part of the game and receive the training they need to support them in their professional development and entrepreneurial aspirations.

We were particularly attracted by the quality of the programme, which uses football to convey important messages and values to teenage girls and boys in the Gambia and Guinea.

The various programmes we support around the world show us that significant improvements can be made in physical achievement and educational potential.



Abdoulie Conteh, Life Skills Coach in Bakau training 35 participants in his academy – SV Amstetten

The Kick 4 Trade training has been a rewarding process for me as a trainer. I enjoyed facilitating the curriculum in my community; the approach is very creative and different.
The knowledge on conflict management, entrepreneurship and employability will widen the life skills of the participants, which will support the meaningful development of the society.

A positive correlation between physical activity and psychosocial development

Sports and physical activity in general are fundamental to children’s development. The knowledge and skills acquired through play contribute greatly to developing not only bodies but also minds. Sport teaches children important values, such as honesty, teamwork, fair play, self-respect, respect for others and respect for rules.

The programmes we support have unfortunately been set back by the pandemic, but we have local teams in the Gambia and Guinea ready to develop syllabuses, train the coaches and set up the necessary infrastructure. We will soon achieve our objectives for these programmes to promote the employability and entrepreneurship of the teenagers we support.

The Kick 4 Trade stepdown training was a life changing moment for all of us. It created an avenue to unlearn skills we believed were right and opened doors to meet and maintain standards that will better our lives.
As a coach, I have picked up valuable knowledge on critical thinking, resilience and self-motivation that will improve my approach towards the people I work with.


Adama Sanyang, University Student at the University of The Gambia



Modou Jatta, Footballer, Bakau

The Kick 4 Trade curriculum is crucial in the development of people and the country.
The curriculum taught us critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, which my community is struggling with right now.
The training will help me make better decisions in life and yield greater impact in my community.



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The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

Copyright: International Trade Centre, unless otherwise indicated.