19 May 2010
Accompanied by a music video, ‘8 Goals for Africa’ is being disseminated free of charge locally and internationally, before, during and after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The performing artists will also make special appearances during the soccer tournament, promoting the MDGs and calling for action.
The music video will be screened throughout the World Cup, across all the fan parks and public viewing areas. On the day of the finals, all eight artists will come together to sing the song in a live performance at the Soccer City Fan Fest in Johannesburg. The video will also be distributed to the international media. (UNIC South Africa/'8 Goals for the MDGs')Belgian UNV volunteer Christophe Verhellen onstage in South Africa at the launch of the '8 Goals for Africa' song on 14 May 2010. "The ‘8 Goals for Africa’ campaign is not the first major communication campaign I am coordinating in South Africa," says Mr. Verhellen, who has produced more than 100 TV programmes and films in his career. "In 2008, I produced a number of very successful radio announcements against xenophobia. recently, I produced a Pan-African radio soap on the MDGs, which is currently being broadcast throughout the continent on 'Channel Africa'. Other recent achievements were the organization of the 'International Day of Peace', where I negotiated with a local mobile operator to send out over 14 million text messages throughout Africa. I was also responsible for the 'Stand up'-campaign, where I could convince the South African Rugby Union to fully participate in the campaign and mobilize over 50.000 supporters. Moreover, I assisted the spokesperson of the Secretary-General during the Secretary-General's visit to South Africa." (UNV)
Pretoria, South Africa:
A UNV volunteer is coordinating a high-profile campaign connecting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The MDGs are an eight-point road map with measurable targets for improving the lives of the world's poorest people. The UNV volunteer, Christophe Verhellen, teamed up with major artists including Angélique Kidjo (Benin), Baaba Maal (Senegal), Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), and South Africans Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Hugh Masekela on a song about re-focusing commitment to attaining the development targets.
The song will be heard throughout the 2010 World Cup, an event which could have the largest worldwide audience in history. The overall campaign aims to create awareness about the MDGs at individual, community and government levels.
"I am extremely proud that as a UNV volunteer, I was given the chance and the responsibility to coordinate such a prestigious project as '8 Goals for Africa', hence actively contributing to achieving the MDGs," says Mr. Verhellen, a Belgian national working since 2008 as Communications and Outreach Officer with the United Nations Information Centre in Pretoria, South Africa.
An experienced TV director and producer, Mr. Verhellen took responsibility for the whole creative process, from conceiving the initial idea for the '8 Goals for Africa' song to identifying the artists and developing the communications strategy. (Click here to see the music video.)
Having worked on European light entertainment for some years prior to becoming a UNV volunteer, Mr. Verhellen felt in need of a change. "I didn’t want to be a producer of successful programmes, I didn't want to be a 'star director', I didn't want to just distract people for a few hours a week," he says. "I wanted to make a difference in people's lives."
When the Government of Belgium offered him the chance to come to South Africa and work with the United Nations Information Centre, he took the opportunity with both hands, he says.
"It was clear to me that UNV was there to add value to the UN," adds Mr. Verhellen. "That UNV was there to bring expertise to the UN, expertise that can make a difference, hence contributing to a better world. I quickly realized that I was back where I belonged, in an environment where I could make that much wanted difference."
"The '8 Goals for Africa' campaign is not yet finished," concludes Christophe Verhellen. "In fact, it has just started. The song is there, the campaign is there, but now we have to bring it to the people."
At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders from 189 states made the historic promise to end poverty by 2015 when they signed up to the Millennium Declaration and agreed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The '8 Goals for Africa' song and accompanying video are part of a wider awareness and advocacy campaign developed by the United Nations system in South Africa. They were officially launched by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark during her visit to South Africa on 14 May 2010.
The song and all related materials are available for download at www.8goalsforafrica.org. The World Cup opens on 11 June 2010, with the final match on 11 July 2010.