Part II: 1 on 1 with Tim Jahnigen, co-founder of the One World Futbol Project

by Team Goalden | Last updated

In part II of our interview with Tim Jahnigen of One World Futbol Project, Goalden asks about success stories and how the project has been received around the world.

Goalden: Buy one give one.  Can you explain this topic a little more in more detail?

Tim Jahnigen: We also refer to it as Give One Get One. This is an emerging business model that allows commerce to directly and rapidly be of service to populations that are affected by war, conflict, natural disasters and economic challenges all over the world–and even here at home.

By donating one ball for each ball we sell, we invite the average consumer to do more than just spend money. They get to share both in the giving and the getting and help spread happiness and purpose in a simple, straightforward way.

We are proud to be part of an ever-growing community of like-minded businesses, known as B Corporations, who place service above profit. Profit is a good thing, it allows a company to sustain itself, grow and improve. But it does not need to be a business’s first priority. B Corporations believe in what is known as the “Triple Bottom Line” which means, People, Planet then Profit.

For us and the consumer, we offer a meaningful alternative to what is currently understood as “Capitalism” while mainstreaming compassion and empathy. The value that is added is hard to put a price on.

Goalden: How has your message been received around the world?

Tim Jahnigen: People around the world who have heard our message and played with our ball have described it as a godsend. It is a simple solution to a multitude of complex issues and challenges in a rapidly-changing world. And it helps a number of incredible programs bring stability and comfort to our most vulnerable and important resource–our children.

Goalden: Have you seen a common theme around the world when sharing the ball?

Tim Jahnigen: Though each culture has its unique traits the one common theme we’ve seen is that all children want and need to play. A lot! Once given a One World Futbol a game is underway, any and all comers are welcome, and laughter and bonding take over. The ball becomes invisible, as it should, in the sense that the game itself is what they need. The ball simply makes everything come together with less effort and allows children to play to their hearts content instead of only until a ball is destroyed.

Goalden: Can you share some of your success stories with us?

There are many wonderful stories filtering back to us from the field, but for me personally, there are two stories I’d like to share.

I felt we’d really accomplished something when we took the ball to the Johannesburg Zoo, and Triton, the prize lion, played with it to the point of exhaustion, which the zookeepers had never seen before. And Triton was more than ready to do the same the very next day. Even after two full days of play you could hardly tell it had been in jaws and claws of a powerful lion.

Triton’s usual habit was to bite through a “real” soccer ball every 5 minutes and get bored. This required between 4 and 6 balls every half hour.  When we gave him the One World Futbol, he immediately pounced on the ball, got carried away and forgot all about having to stop and wait for another ball. He just kept playing and playing until he’d had enough. All his other experiences instantly became part of the past and were forgotten. Because he is an animal who isn’t biased by suggestion, the fact that he instinctively used the ball the way it was meant to be used showed me that even if a child doesn’t know what soccer is, just by tossing a ball to them joy and happiness are the outcome.

Another story that stands out for me involves one of our first recipient of balls. We gave 100 of our early prototype balls to a child soldier rehabilitation camp in Rwanda. A year later I met the man who runs that amazing place. I was stunned to find out that not only did they still have all 100 but as a result of the durability of the One World Futbol, they didn’t have to buy a thousand balls that year, this year or next year, or many more years after that.

We know that some children here at home, when told that something is “indestructible” (a term others have used to describe the One World Futbol — though we prefer “ultra-durable”), they will do all they can to find out if it’s true, knowing they can easily get another one. From that camp in Rwanda, we learned that the One World Futbols were washed everyday and put away with great care. These balls were prized possessions — so great is the need to play that the children work together to do all they can to make these futbols last and last.

For this powerful lesson from these wonderful children, who have suffered so much — only three out of 35 had parents still alive and a few of them, under the control of very misguided adults, had killed 2 to 3 people before their 8th birthdays — we at the One World Futbol Project are humbled, grateful and inspired.

Thank you all at Goalden for this opportunity to share our story, and we appreciate your support.

Goalden: Thank you for this opportunity.  The pleasure is truly ours.

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