A high profile visit, the biggest of them all, is on the cards for the Aliguma Foundation this month when the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president Aleksander Čeferin makes his first-ever voyage to Uganda.
Čeferin is scheduled to touchdown on March 14 for a two-day project visit aboard a private plane from Kigali and will go through a special Very Important Person (VIP) protocol at Entebbe Airport where he will be greeted upon arrival by Aliguma Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ritah Aliguma, UEFA General Secretary Urs Kluser, who arrives a day earlier aboard Turkish Airlines, and the State Minister for Sports Hon. Peter Ogwang.
*Focus on Acholi Quarters
“Our primary purpose of coming to Uganda is to visit your foundation and check the progress of the Acholi Quarters project. We plan to stay for an entire day on March 15 and check on your different works in promoting better livelihoods in the slum communities through sports especially football,” noted Kluser in his communique to the foundation.
It should be noted that Aliguma Foundation were first time recipients of the UEFA Foundation For Children grant as part of the 65 humanitarian projects around the world worth €4.9 MILLION (an estimated UGX19.1 BILLION) pre the coronavirus pandemic times through its Sports For Resilience & Empowerment Project (SREP).
And after the foundation stepped up its works by redeveloping the multi-purpose Acholi Quarters Playground, improving the structures and status of the Annual Banda Slums Soccer Tournament, buying a 15-acre piece of land in Kinuuma Village, Masindi District and starting construction works at Aliguma Foundation Sports & Empowerment Center (AFSEC) as well as the initiation of other new fundamental projects like the Ndi Mwana – The Cry of A Girl Child – the powers that be at the governing body of football in Europe were equally excited with the progress and are determined to ensure that the Uganda-based foundation continues to change lives of the less-privileged.
*Second grant offer
On November 9, 2022, Čeferin made the big announcement that in addition to 30 different European projects and special funding for the Ukraine response, the Aliguma Foundation was part of the 12 Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in Africa selected for the 2022 call alongside another 12 in Asia, seven in Central and South America, and two in Oceania.
“We often say how powerful the impact of football in our lives is, but the work of our Foundation for Children illustrates that in the best possible way,” said the Slovenian lawyer while chairing the UEFA Board Meeting back then in November 2022.
It is not every day that UEFA Foundation For Children offers second grants to charitable organisations and NGOs but the Aliguma Foundation’s works and presentation made by Ritah Aliguma during the 84th AIPS Congress in Rome last October, where she lobbied and solicited for help in a detailed report, of how football continues to change so many lives and been a catalyst for several children to stop crime and return to school, it did enough to convince the delegation from UEFA.
“These are the stories we want to be globally shared. This second grant should enable a greater number of children across the globe to enjoy the magic of football while also offering them hope for a better tomorrow,” added Čeferin.
*First Lady meet
Whilst in the Pearl of Africa, the former president of the Football Association of Slovenia (NZS), who will be accompanied by Kluser, Kevin Lamour – Member of the Board and Sršen Matej – Consultant, will have a series of open media engagements, attend a schools sports gala at Acholi Quarters where he will see the elderly women and girl-child exhibitions of their works.
Čeferin will wrap up his bumper-schedule tour with a visit to the State House where he will have soccer development talks with the First Lady & National Minister of Education & Sports Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni alongside Ogwang, who has helped a great deal in making the visit happen as well as its ongoing preparations alongside the national soccer governing body – Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).
“This is big news and we don’t take it lightly that the UEFA president Čeferin has taken it upon himself to visit,” said CEO Ritah Aliguma.
“We never envisaged it and although we want him to tour different locations of our projects, we know we cannot because of the time factor. We shall squeeze in as much as we can in the time he will be with us. It is going to be historic for us as a foundation as we have only been in existence since 2017. Preparations for the monumental visit are underway and all our partner schools are excited.”
At least 20 schools will participate in the one-day sports gala, the newly introduced Aliguma Foundation Soccer Academy (AFSA) children will showcase their skills, the girl-child will also have a chance to bask in the sun – sporting and enterprise-wise by showing Čeferin how much they love the beautiful game of football and how they can make art, crafts and reusable sanitary pads.
*UEFA PRESIDENT VISIT TO UGANDA
Project Visit Itinerary & Schedule
Aleksander Čeferin, Chairman
Kevin Lamour, Member of the Board
Urs Kluser, General Secretary
Sršen Matej, Consultant
ITINERARY AND ACTIVITIES:
March 14, 2023 at 5pm:
● Arrival of UEFA President and entourage at Entebbe International Airport via VIP Lounge. Then transfer to Serena Hotel Kampala for the night.
March 15, 2023 – Starting 9am
● Serena Hotel transfer To Acholi Quarters
● Charity March in Kireka Banda B1 Zone – Slum Communities
● Then Acholi Quarters For Exhibitions & Sports Gala
● Meet with the First Lady of the Republic of Uganda at the State House.
● Drive back to Entebbe International Airport for departure.
*Source: Aliguma Foundation media.