Collaboration agreements with UNICEF and CONMEBOL in favour of Scholas Occurrentes, signed before the Holy Father

Vatican City, 21 April 2015 (VIS) – This morning, in the Domus Sanctae Marthae and in the presence of Pope Francis, the executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, and the deputy president of CONMEBOL signed two collaboration agreements in favour of Scholas Occurrentes, the educational network supported by the Holy Father.

UNICEF is the United Nations Children's Fund, and CONMEBOL the South American Football Confederation. Scholas Occurrentes is a the first worldwide initiative with the aim of promoting integration and peace between peoples through education, connecting more than 400,000 schools and educational networks, both public and private and of all religions. The five-year collaboration with UNICEF will be based on the broadening of access for young children, especially the most disadvantaged, to technology, sport and the arts – platforms for education, participation and the building of peace, enabling the young to learn about themselves, others and the world that surrounds them.

Scholas and UNICEF will initially cooperate in a series of joint activities worldwide, with the special aim of bringing an end to violence and promoting the connectedness of all young people, making the most of the unique capacities of each person to favour the participation of adolescents and to broaden their access to the tools and information they need to be connected, to communicate and to collaborate.

The two organisations will explore the bonds between their respective platforms for mobilisation on social networks and communication media, and will support both digital campaigns and social movements in aid of the most disadvantaged children. The specific collaboration projects include involvement in the Scholas network in terms of content and opportunities for the participation by young people in “The young express their own opinion”, UNICEF's online space for adolescents and young people. UNICEF will also adapt the U-Report for the Scholas global community, which will enable its members to join the 500,000 or so young people who already use the mobile-based platform to speak about their interests and to participate.

The organisations will also develop new opportunities for collaboration in relation to major events centred on world youth, such as the Summit on the Social Impact of Youth, to be held during the Summer Games of the Special Olympics in 2015 in Los Angeles. In 2016, the association will begin to explore initiatives at regional, national and community levels, including campaigns to raise awareness and joint promotional activities linked to issues affecting millions of disadvantaged adolescents.