Williams F1 races to help Angola

[Image] The newly launched Williams F1 Foundation
is soon to begin vital work in Angola.
(Image: Williams F1)

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British Formula One (F1) team Williams launched its first non-profit foundation in August 2009 with a view to making a broader contribution to society, and has chosen Angola as its first beneficiary.

Williams is to partner with local management and operations company Ridge Solutions, a diversified concern that works mainly to develop the real estate sector, but is also involved in natural resources, agriculture and industrial projects.

Established in 2004, Luanda-based Ridge Solutions has an active social responsibility programme with a strong sport component. The company is one of the sponsors of the Williams F1 team.

Williams F1 CEO Adam Parr expressed his delight at the opportunity to work in the Southern African nation: “Angola is a wonderful country which has a strong programme of social and economic development following many difficult years,” he said on the team’s website.

The Williams Foundation has identified three areas which it feels need immediate attention. These are education, energy efficiency and road safety. Because they are aligned with the company’s core business of racing and engineering, Williams is confident that it can make a meaningful impact.

“Road safety and education are important challenges for the people of Angola,” said Parr, “and we are pleased to be able to provide assistance in these areas. Motorsports offer opportunities for the country to develop both on the sporting front and economically, and Williams is proud to be a part of the endeavour.”

The foundation’s work in Angola is expected to set the pattern for future projects in other countries.

Support for sport

In addition, Williams F1 is throwing its weight behind Angola’s African Cup of Nations (Cocan2010) campaign. Angola is hosting the 27th edition of the tournament between 10 and 31 January 2010, and will welcome 16 football teams from across the continent to battle it out in the host cities of Luanda, Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango.

Already the Cocan2010 logo can be seen on the rear left wing of the Williams-Toyota racing cars. The tournament branding will remain on the cars until the end of the 2009 season on 1 November.

“This is an important event for Africa and Angola,” said Parr, “and Williams is proud to be able to support and promote Angola’s Cocan2010 football tournament by running the campaign’s branding on the team’s race cars for the rest of the season.”

The foundation will work hand in hand with the Angolan ministry of youth and sport as well as the Cocan2010 organising committee and the Angolan charity Fundo Lwini, whose logo is also currently displayed on the Williams-Toyota F1 car.

The Lwini fund strives to alleviate the devastating effects of the millions of landmines scattered around the country, a legacy of the 27-year-long civil war which ended in 2002.

Lwini provides medical care, rehabilitation and training to victims of landmine accidents, helping them regain a meaningful place in society.

It also assists those who are injured or disabled in accidents on the country’s roads, which according to the US Department of State can be treacherous, especially during the rainy season.

While roads in major towns are drivable, those in more remote areas can be completely impassable at times. Also, the threat of landmines is ever-present.

The US Department of State describes Angola as the third most heavily mined country in the world. Estimates of the number of mines buried beneath its earth range between 9- and 15-million.

The Williams Foundation hopes to provide long-term assistance to Angola’s post-war restoration programme by partnering with other corporations as well as NGOs and government agencies from all over the world.