Doha, 02 Sept. 2022
An incredibly motivated group of over 16,000 volunteers, joined by thousands who followed online from around the world, gathered at the Lusail Stadium for the official orientation event – a festive ceremony featuring football legends and FIFA World Cup 2022 top brass.
The largest of the host venues for the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ served as a fitting backdrop for this important milestone gathering, which marked the first time that all selected volunteers were assembled together for the formal start of their training journey and a momentous opportunity to reflect on the road ahead.
Eng. Yasir Al Jamal, Director General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) opened the event, welcoming the assembled volunteers to Lusail Stadium and thanking them for their significant contribution to the incredible fan experience ahead, and overall success of the FIFA World Cup™.
The event-filled evening was aimed at building a greater sense of community and helping everyone become more familiar with their respective activities across 45 different functional roles by giving them a glimpse of the challenges and the rewards in store.
FIFA’s Chief Operating Officer – World Cup and Managing Director for Q22, Colin Smith, struck a note of gratitude and inclusivity: “Volunteers are our true heartbeat because their passion and selfless devotion sustain everything we do. That’s the common thread that unites 20,000 volunteers, irrespective of nationality, culture, age, gender and experience. It’s through their efforts that the FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar can be considered the most inclusive ever and will connect people from all cultures and backgrounds through the game of football.”
The event’s upbeat atmosphere was led by celebrity hosts Abood Afro and Anshou Jain, mixing dance performances and video highlight reels with messages of encouragement from English football superstar David Beckham and Australia’s top FIFA World Cup™ scorer, former Aussie national Tim Cahill.
“We hope first that each volunteer will have gained valuable skills, experiences and friendships that will enrich their lives and just make them better, happier, more confident people, regardless of their continued path. This is a fine legacy for any nation. “From the macro-view, I’m confident that societies will start to embrace a wider culture of volunteerism as an expression of both national pride and self-betterment, as it’s something which also aligns with our traditional values of honour and generosity.”
Nasser Al-Mogaiseeb, Volunteer Strategy Manager, shared praise for the critical stakeholders involved in supporting the volunteer program: “The outstanding quality and sheer volume of our volunteer program would have been unthinkable without the abiding support of all our critical volunteer stakeholders, who represent the true pillars of community volunteerism in Qatar. Over the past year, our joint Volunteer Legacy Group has provided essential help in spreading awareness, training and recruitment of volunteers through the combined resource networks of Qatar Foundation, Qatar Voluntary Centre, Qatar Museums, Qatar Charity, Qatar Olympic Committee, Qatar Red Crescent, Education Above All, Tomoh, Nama, Qatar University and Qatar Football Association. They have contributed to the generous team behind our team of valued volunteers.“
A much-anticipated highlight of the evening was the official volunteer uniform reveal, which garnered impromptu cheers from the appreciative crowd. Styled in the signature volunteer colours of black, white, mint and purple, the adidas-designed outfits bear the brand’s triple-stripe detail and a distinctive heart logo design to represent the volunteer spirit. Volunteers are fitted from top to bottom with a full wardrobe of caps, long and short sleeve tops, jackets, pants, socks and shoes, plus optional head scarves for female volunteers.
19-year old volunteer and Ruwaad Pioneer, Areeba Faisal from Pakistan said, “When I saw the uniform and the colour combination, I took a minute to look at everything because the design was so cool! The fact that they thought of making a hijab is amazing, simply because it’s convenient to have all of it matching and I really appreciate it.”
Over the course of the evening, the full scope of the volunteer journey was delivered through entertaining video presentations which included an introduction to the e-learning platform where volunteers receive general subject training in topics such as sustainability, cultural awareness and customer services in order to better perform their basic service role. Through the new platform, volunteers will have access to a key informational resource and e-learning modules that allow them to prepare themselves for their roles at their own convenience and regardless of locale, for the many volunteers arriving from abroad.
29-year old Eric Apedo from Ghana felt the evening’s program made him prouder and more prepared for his upcoming role as an accreditation volunteer. “I’m emotional to think about where I’ve come from and the friends I’ve made and my responsibility working the final match of the FIFA World Cup™ right here in Lusail Stadium. But one of the messages from today was to be yourself because we all have something unique to offer. So, I feel confident and the fact that I’m here with all these people who love football and who love volunteering, I feel we are a big community with one heart.”
For the next stages of the volunteer journey, volunteers will start their general and role-specific training online and venue training at the actual sites where they will be based and perform their roles. The in-person venue-specific training is one of the final stages, which gives volunteers a hands-on taste of the tasks they will be performing in the actual venues where they will be assigned. The regularly updated portal will continue to serve as a knowledge and operational resource with refreshers and tips on maintaining health and well-being.
Once volunteers receive their full uniform packages and complete their respective training and accreditation their real adventure begins !