- The Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Paris Saint Germain Endowment Fund (PSG) call for one last push in the fight to eradicate polio
- Renowned footballers, influencers from the French gaming community, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Emmanuel Macron unite to create excitement among the younger generation
- An innovative activation resulted in the creation online of the gamer, “@P0L__10” —a pseudonym for polio— as all corners joined forces in the fight against the disease at the Gustave Eiffel Lounge on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower
PARIS (6 December): Last night, the French gaming community made a call for collective action to defeat a common adversary – only it was not an online gaming threat, but poliovirus, a debilitating infection that has been paralysing children for centuries.
Throughout the event, gamers battled on the EA SPORTS FC 24 pitch in a tournament to determine who would be the player chosen to defeat @P0L__10, a seemingly unbeatable opponent who had been tormenting players online in the preceding days. As the challenger was decided, it was revealed that this common adversary, @P0L__10, was in truth an alias for polio, a persistent foe that the world is on the brink of eradicating.
Since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was formed in 1988, cases of the once ubiquitous polio have fallen by over 99%, and today the wild virus is confined to pockets of just two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan. Still, poliovirus continues to threaten millions of children around the world, and until we stop all forms of polio everywhere, we all remain at risk. Thankfully, because this virus has been eliminated in most places, younger generations in much of the world have never witnessed this highly infectious and devastating virus impact on their friends and family members.
“As long as this virus continues to exist anywhere, young people everywhere, including here in France, remain at risk,” said Les Twins, a famous duo of Franco-American content creators on FC24, who hosted and broadcast on their Twitch channel (229K subscribers) Tuesday evening’s event at the Salle Gustave Eiffel, on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. “The young, vibrant esports community in France is strong and capable, and tonight we showed that when we rally behind a cause we can make great things happen.”
“Gaming is important, but not as important as the lives of children around the world. This is our generation’s chance to really make a difference”, said Arsène Froon, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), host whom the tournament’s winner was given the chance to challenge after the audience discovered he was hiding behind the character of P0L__10. Arsène delivered his message to an audience that included not just influential figures in gaming, but also PSG players from the female team, Ana Vitória, Océane Toussaint and Constance Picaud, e-players Nkantee and Amarr as well as European polio advocates. Our commitment to this cause is also a homage to Guy Crescent, the pioneer and founder of PSG, who himself was affected by poliomyelitis and contributed greatly to the club’s development.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke to the crowd via video as polio was revealed to be the true adversary, echoing the sentiment that it is only with collective support and action that the eradication of this disease can be achieved. Just hours before the event, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced up to €55 million in support to Pakistan, filling a critical funding gap in the country’s commitment to stop polio. These funds build on France’s monumental pledge of €50 million at the 2022 GPEI Pledging Moment in Berlin.
The vibrant event was a testament to the power of collaboration across sectors, bringing together the worlds of gaming, sport, and health advocacy in an historic collaboration, by captivating and engaging the younger generations to work together to end @P0L__10 and continue the fight to make polio history.
Further voices have joined the movement, including Gims, the Congolese-French singer, rapper, and activist who added, “I am super excited to join the efforts of Bill Gates, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and government leaders in the mission to eradicate polio in the Democratic Republic of Congo and around the world. Together, we will end polio and save tens of thousands of children from this devastating disease.”
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
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About the PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN FOUNDATION AND ENDOWMENT FUND:
Since its creation in 2000, the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation has sought to help disadvantaged and sick children and deprived communities. It organises educational and sport programmes in France and around the world that use sport and its values as levers for learning, self-fulfilment and solidarity. In 2013, the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation set up an endowment fund to collect donations made by individuals and companies to help it develop its social responsibility and community programmes. Through these programmes, which enable disadvantaged people to integrate into society and the world of work, and through its Red and Blue Schools, its support for refugees and its charity donations, the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation harnesses the educational and emotional benefits of sport to come to the aid of people in need.
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