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FCC Youth Tackle Water Stewardship in Barranquilla

February 09, 2024

According to the UN, though there is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people, uneven distribution coupled with high levels of waste, pollution and unsustainable management is causing increasing levels of water scarcity. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people are expected to live in regions with absolute water scarcity.

To leverage sport to help address the global water crisis, Manchester City F.C.’s global Cityzens Giving program created the Water Heroes Academy, a network of youth-led projects aimed at tackling water challenges in local communities. Supported by global water technology provider, Xylem, the initiative is currently supporting football and water projects in multiple cities. One of those is with Fútbol Con Corazón (FCC) in Barranquilla, Colombia.

FCC is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering youth to become agents of change by promoting socio-emotional education and resilience through football. Late last month, as part of a four-day Young Leader Training program at FCC’s Barranquilla headquarters, Manchester City, the City Football Foundation and Xylem trained 40 promising young soccer talents, coaches and supervisors on how football can be a powerful tool in promoting water stewardship.


Led by Manchester City and City Football coaches Pete Bradshaw and Dior Burton, the training emphasized the potential of young people to take the lead in positively impacting their communities. The focus was on four key pillars: leadership, community training, social impact and project management. Participants not only learned about the challenges of water stewardship but also received practical knowledge on implementing community water-related projects, including project management and impact measurement.

“The youth leaders and coaches training program, led by Manchester City and Xylem, provides comprehensive support to Fútbol Con Corazón coaches so that they can carry out excellent work in the community. It also improves their football-related skills. The program teaches them how to adapt football games so that the community can learn about the importance of water, responsible consumption, sanitation and hygiene,” shared Yamile Algarín, FCC Special Projects Coordinator.

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“Across the four days, we had wonderful sessions that included fieldwork and theoretical sessions, and we ended with a great community event where children, girls, teenagers and young people enjoyed sports activities around water care,” Algarín continued. 

The training looked to instill a sense of responsibility and environmental consciousness among the young participants in the effort to foster lifelong connections between sport and sustainability. This is particularly crucial in Barranquilla where climate change, population growth, pollution and rainfall pattern variations pose a serious threat to water availability and quality.

The young leaders were also encouraged to use their skills to inspire others to care for water. This included teaching communities, other young people and adults through community-based water-related initiatives. The training further extended its impact by inviting journalists to attend, encouraging public awareness of water conservation through the example set by the Barranquilla participants.


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