Against a backdrop of escalating global water challenges, young leaders are stepping up to make a difference with the Water Heroes Academy – a joint initiative by Manchester City’s global community program, Cityzens Giving, and global water technology partner, Xylem. Launched in 2021, the initiative empowers young leaders to tackle water challenges in their local communities by using the power of football to provide essential education on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
This year, five water projects led by inspiring young leaders in Bangalore, Barranquilla, Nairobi, Tacloban City and Washington D.C. took part in the program. Earlier this month, Manchester City supporters were invited to vote for their favorite project, and with almost 18,000 votes cast, Nairobi was named the winning project for 2023.
Today, it is estimated that 70% of Nairobi’s population live in informal settlements, with only 20% of the population having access to piped water and sanitation. The Nairobi team’s project focused on educating young girls about using clean water for sanitation and hygiene during their period.
The young leaders from Nairobi will be visited by a Manchester City Club Legend and receive additional training from Manchester City coaches in the Football and Water Education curriculum. Each of this year’s projects also receives seed funding, educational tools, and training and mentoring from Xylem and City Football Foundation, providing young leaders with the resources they need to create their own unique programs.
Since 2021, the Water Heroes Academy has engaged more than 200 young leaders and delivered vital water and football related education to more than 12,000 young people in ten cities.