David Beckham Visited Sierra Leone Last Weekend

Famed English soccer star David Beckham met with children in the mostly deprived border district of Koinadugu last Saturday as part of his role as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the U.N. child agency.

The LA Galaxy midfielder arrived late on Friday January 18th and left yesterday Sunday January 20th 2008 after travelling by road to Kabala near the border with Guinea.

Sierra Leone’s Infant and maternal mortality are among the highest in the world especially because roads, schools and hospitals were devastated by the civil conflict.

“He’s here as a guest of UNICEF,” the charity’s spokeswoman Alison Parker told Reuters International News Agency by telephone.

“He’s covering programmes on child survival in Sierra Leone; visiting a number of UNICEF programmes in the northern part of the country on malaria prevention and immunisation.” Parker added.

Beckham, a former England captain has been visiting a number of projects set up by the United Nations agency in his role as a Goodwill Ambassador.

Beckham, who has been a Unicef ambassador since 2005, is visiting centres which care for malaria sufferers, a disease which kills at least 800,000 children under the age of five each year in sub-Saharan Africa.

Beckham is idolised by football lovers in West Africa but his visit here to Sierra Leone was very low-key thus preventing him from socialising with his numerous football fans here in Sierra Leone.

SOURCE: Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone