Since its launch in 2021, Xylem Water Heroes Academy has engaged more than 75 young leaders and delivered vital water education to more than 6,000 young people in five cities: São Paulo, Mumbai, Cape Town, New York City and Shanghai
The expanded network, which now also comprises youth-led projects in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Cape Coast, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, aims to positively impact 20,000 more young people over the next four years.
To mark the launch, City legend Pablo Zabaleta and the Premier League trophy visited the El Coyolito neighbourhood in Mexico City to meet Young Leaders who are using the power of football to solve local water issues.
This project will see Young Leaders from love.fútbol use specially adapted football games to educate young people in the community on responsible water consumption, as well as the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Zabaleta took part in a youth-led football and water festival and engaged in a Q&A session with young participants, before learning a traditional Mexican dance.
Reflecting on his visit, Zabaleta said: “Meeting the Young Leaders in Mexico City was an amazing experience.
"The way they are using football to teach children about the importance of water is creative and inspiring, and it’s great to see this unique initiative from Cityzens Giving and Xylem expanding to more cities.
"The Young Leaders are so engaged with supporting their community and to be able to contribute in a small way was a privilege.”
In addition, City in the Community coaches delivered training to 40 Young Leaders in Mexico City, sharing expertise and knowledge in leadership, community football and WASH.
This was followed by a three-day digital Summit, connecting Young Leaders and Xylem experts from all ten cities to share ideas on tackling water challenges through football.
“Climate change continues to threaten water availability in communities across the globe,” said Austin Alexander, Vice President, Sustainability and Social Impact at Xylem.
“Xylem Water Heroes Academy harnesses the power of football and young leaders to address these water challenges and make our communities more resilient.”
Valeria, a Young Leader with love.fútbol said: “We want all the children here to be aware that responsible water consumption is very important, and they must take care of it.
"We received training from Man City coaches and learnt several games that teach kids about water conservation through football.
"We are really happy and thankful that Man City and Pablo Zabaleta visited our community.”
Later this season, City fans will have a chance to learn more about the five new Water Heroes Academy projects and vote for their favourite young water heroes.