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ICC launches Cricket for Good, Team Swachh campaign in partnership with Unicef, BCCI

MUMBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has reaffirmed its commitment to the Spirit of Cricket and bringing about positive social change through the sport, by launching Cricket for Good, it’s CSR Programme, in association with UNICEF.

Team Swachh is the first of a series of collaborations between the ICC and Unicef under the aegis of Cricket for Good with the aim of leveraging the vast reach and power of cricket. This visionary collaboration aims to build a social movement for sanitation and toilet use, thereby leading to an open defecation-free India.

The five-year global partnership was announced in October 2015 in New York and will be used as the ICC’s platform to advocate for children in India and other countries where cricket is a popular sport.

ICC CEO David Richardson said, “We are committed to working with UNICEF on initiatives that will improve the health, education, nutrition, protection and sanitation of children, which are causes so critical to us all.

“ICC and Unicef together will engage the broader cricketing community to empower children and adolescents and will, in particular, during the many ICC events over the next five years, develop and implement various community outreach programmes and initiatives in collaboration with coaches, cricketers and cricketing personalities.

“Building up to the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, there will be an eight host city tour starting next month that will use exciting cricket-based sanitation and hygiene games to engage with school children. During the event itself, there will be coaching clinics with participating teams.”

The initial focus of the collaboration in India will be to improve sanitation. With the largest number of people still defecating in the open – more than 564 million – poor sanitation can cause diarrhoea, which accounts for more than 300 deaths in children under five years every day in India. This partnership will strengthen the Team Swachh campaign conceptualised by the Uniucef-Wash United alliance.

And this is where Team Swachh will swiftly move into action, to try and make a difference, and help inspire people to initiate a change at the ground level, to make the journey from apathy to concern and taking action. It will endeavor to cut across urban and rural populations, class, gender, age, region and religion to help make India a clean nation where everyone uses a toilet.

The idea of team and team play is at the core of the Team Swachh initiative. And it starts with the power of cricket teams and the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016. For the event teams and any other team to be successful, all the different members – different players, coaches, doctors, etc. have to work together to achieve their goal.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, remarked. “Similarly, ending open defecation-achieving sanitation for all in India, takes a genuine team effort in which all relevant actors – from the Government of India to people practicing open defecation, from role models to international development partners – play together as one team.”

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur commented, “Team Swachh presents a creative and collaborative platform to make the nationwide movement a resounding success. The ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 will bring together the collective efforts of the BCCI, ICC and Unicef towards the mission with the help of awareness programmes.

“I’m sure that the coaching clinics, which will see active participation from the leading cricketers of the world, will inspire and encourage my fellow Indian citizens to contribute to this wonderful initiative.”

Unicef regional director South Asia Karin Hulshof said, “Unicef hopes to harness the reach and power of cricket, one of the world’s most popular sports, towards the most important cause of all: saving the lives and futures of children.”

A Team Swachh action kit, featuring a unique cricket and game-based tool-kit for WASH (Water Sanitation & Hygiene) in schools was also launched during the event. The kit contains a set of exciting cricket-themed WASH games, along with an implementation handbook and Team Swachh campaign materials featuring the Team Swachh cricket star ambassadors.

And to kick-start the programme, Tendulkar picked up the bat once again and played a game with children of a local non-governmental organization (NGO), Nine is Mine. The master batsman then took time to discuss sanitation with the kids, and shared ideas and thoughts on how they could spread the message of ending open defecation among their peers.