Published on Eurasian Perspectives

End Poverty Day: Spreading the word through sport

The first day of October turned out to be quite nice in Chisinau, despite the dismal weather forecast that had threatened low temperatures and rain showers.

On this bright, sunny Saturday, a Moldovan charity held its traditional fall soccer tournament for local and international organizations, businesses, and diplomatic missions. The purpose of the tournament is a noble one – to collect funds for palliative care services to children and adults suffering from incurable and life-limiting illnesses.

And so the World Bank Moldova soccer team turned up, eager to display our dazzling foot work and dribbling skills (OK, a slight exaggeration, I admit!) A handful of injuries and business trips meant a reduced overall capacity, but that did not deter the rest of us from being determined to win.


In total, 24 teams participated in the tournament, some very experienced and some less so, but all eager to have a great ‘Indian Summer’ day in Moldova – one replete with emotions and memories. And we had it all: tackling, shouting, back-clapping, arguing (with referees), winning, losing and drawing … but just as importantly, we had the attention of hundreds of spectators and competitors upon us as we proudly displayed our ‘End Poverty’ t-shirts.

While getting ready for the tournament, we had realized that in just a couple of weeks – on October 17 to be precise – we will mark the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. So why not wear our stylish-two-size-only ‘End Poverty’ T-shirts? Why not use soccer as a means to promote this important day!

Sport has always been a promoter of strong values, but soccer in particular – as the most popular sport on the planet – is extremely powerful in this respect. Just recall Barcelona’s Leonel Messi celebrating his goals while wearing a t-shirt bearing the UNICEF logo … such impact!

And, to a certain degree, it worked for us too. Dozens of people approached us before, between, and after games to ask us about our ‘End Poverty’ t-shirts. We explained to kids and adults alike what we were trying to highlight, what the World Bank’s twin goals are all about, what perpetuates extreme poverty, and why it is so important for us to work together to combat poverty.

Some people asked if we had brought along extra t-shirts – we did have a few that we were able to offer around, but not enough. It reminded us to bring more next year, much more. And, we thought how great it would be to capture the moment with some photos/selfies!

So, this is how the first day of October turned out for me and many of my colleagues: nice weather, good exercise, lots of fun, great team-building, meeting new people … and, while participating in a really worthy cause in Moldova, we were able to share our global message about ending poverty!


Boris Ciobanu

Communications Officer

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