20 June 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: 'Football Is Nothing - This Is Everything' Says WFP Ambassador Jose Mourinho On First Mission to Côte d'Ivoire

With the World Cup underway in Brazil, one of the world's most successful football manager's, Jose Mourinho, was busy undertaking a challenge of a different kind - his first mission as WFP Ambassador against Hunger.

In his role as WFP hunger Ambassador, Jose Mourinho used his visit to Côte d'Ivoire to draw attention to the positive impact of good nutrition on the lives of young children. His first stop was a school in Yamoussoukro, where children receive free daily meals as part of a WFP school feeding programme.

"Food is a magnet for these kids, encouraging them to stay in school, helping them to focus on their lessons and providing the nutrition they need to lead healthy lives," Mourinho said as he shared lunch with the 153 school children at Nanan school.

WFP currently works with the national government to provide meals at 5,000 schools across Côte d'Ivoire - encouraging children to attend school, focus on their lessons and reach their full potential.

Community partnership

The Chelsea manager also took the opportunity to meet local farmers who, with agricultural tools and seeds from WFP, grow crops and supply schools with local produce for lunches - contributing to a real community effort.

"It hurts," admitted Mourinho as he witnessed the scale of hunger in the country and realised the potential for awareness and fundraising in his new role.

"Jose Mourinho's visit is hugely important" said WFP Country Director, Gianluca Ferrera. "It helps us to draw attention back to Côte d'Ivoire and show the positive progress we have made in recent years while reminding the world of the important work that remains to be done."

Proud

Mourinho's visit culminated in an eye-opening meeting with patients at a nearby HIV clinic where WFP provides food. It was another opportunity for Mourinho to talk to those who are receiving support from WFP - and understand what more they need.

"When I was in the field, I realised the dimension of the work WFP is doing," said Mourinho afterwards. "The fact that I was in the field with the kids at the same moment the World Cup was starting made me really feel that football is nothing and this is everything - I feel proud to belong to an organisation that does so much."

Jose Mourinho will be working as an advocate for the organisation, raising awareness about WFP's work and the push to reach zero hunger.

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