The Water Heroes Academy combines seed funding, educational tools, training and mentoring from Xylem and Cityzens Giving, giving participants all they need to create their own unique programmes.
Over the next twelve months, the youth-led projects - located in Mumbai, Sao Paulo, New York, Cape Town and Shanghai - will provide essential education on water, sanitation and hygiene through specially adapted football games.
In addition, young leaders will identify a water challenge specific to their city and creatively use the power of football to educate young people on this issue.
The programme kicked off with a global Water & Football Summit, digitally connecting the 100 young leaders from NGO partners around the world for a series of live interactive discussions on how to use football to solve water challenges.
The young leaders had the opportunity to hear from Xylem and City Football experts on topics including water access, creating water-resilient communities, using football as an education tool, and the power of storytelling, to enhance their understanding and inspire them with ideas to take back to their communities.
This new initiative builds on Xylem’s continued support of Cityzens Giving projects in Bangalore, India and Cape Coast, Ghana.
That has engaged more than 11,800 young people since 2018 with football-based education on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of germs, combined with clean water filtration towers to increase access to safe water and reduce the risk of illness faced by children in disadvantaged communities.
Lindokuhle, a Young Leader from RV United in Cape Town said: “The Summit was an awesome opportunity to hear from water and football experts, as well as to connect with young leaders from around the world.
"I was really surprised to learn that by the year 2050 about 5 billion people will be affected by water scarcity. I am looking forward to being part of this programme and using football to educate children on water issues in my community.”
Tom Pitchon, Director of City Football Groups’ global foundation said: “Football is much more than a game.
"It’s a language to build trust with young people and communicate around a whole range of topics, including how to protect our health and our planet through water hygiene and conservation
"We’re delighted to launch the Water Heroes Academy with Xylem, blending the expertise of both organisations over the next twelve months to deliver life-changing impact for young people across the globe.”
Joseph Vesey, Xylem’s Chief Marketing Officer, commented: “Solving the world’s biggest water challenges is Xylem’s purpose, and this programme helps motivated young people lead on solutions for their own communities, but with the big advantage of a global network of innovators.
"Xylem partners with Manchester City, around the world, in large part because of shared values: a company changing the world through water, and a team changing the world through football.
"The Water Heroes Academy is a team effort, focusing the joy and power of football to engage a generation of young people to lead their communities in addressing vital water challenges.”
Through their partnership with Manchester City, New York City FC, and Mumbai City FC, Xylem aims to raise awareness about pressing global water challenges and solutions.
Their latest campaign, ‘Be a Water Hero’ engages the next generation of water advocates and calls on football fans to consider the impact that excessive water use can have on society and our environment
Find out more on how you can get involved and ‘Be a Water Hero’ - https://www.mancity.com/beawaterhero
City Football Group is currently providing advisory services to Mumbai City FC and has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority investment in Mumbai City FC. The purchase is awaiting final approvals.