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FIFA, WHO partner to showcase Zimbabwean doctor’s health project at FIFA World Cup

FIFA, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health have partnered to showcase the Friendship Benches project at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The project, which promotes awareness on mental health, was developed in Zimbabwe by Doctor Dixon Chibanda in 2007 with support from local Ministry of Health and WHO.

The initiative will be introduced at the World Cup in Qatar next month and will involve custom-made public benches to promote the critical importance of mental health, and the role that football and sport can play to promote mental wellbeing.

Thirty-two “Friendship Benches” – one for each nation competing in the 2022  FIFA World Cup – are being built for installation in prominent Doha locations, including the precincts of tournament stadiums.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “The Friendship Benches project is another vehicle to raise awareness about mental health conditions and to encourage a conversation, which could save a life.

“FIFA is proud to partner with the World Health Organization, and Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health to put football at the service of society, and to leave a lasting legacy in Qatar for residents and visitors.”

Qatar’s Minister of Health Public Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, said the benches project was a tangible, lasting symbol of the importance of the Sport for Health partnership.

“Mental health is a core component of the Sport For Health partnership and our goal is for the Friendship Benches to provide a place, during and after the FIFA World Cup, for residents and visitors to Qatar to come together and ask each other ‘Are You OK?’ and use the opportunity to engage in dialogue and physical activities,” Kuwari said.

Pic Credit: Online. 

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