Tag Archives: Football

Football Pitch Make-over through Design Thinking

A lot was happening in Mlango Kubwa’s football pitch last week. Mlango Kubwa is a ward in the Mathare informal settlement in Kenya. Mathare has approximately 500,000 residence; Mango Kubwa itself has approximately 50,000 residents of which 70% of the population is 24 and under.

After its inauguration by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, it became the centerpiece of Design Thinking workshop organized to give it a sustainable make-over.

IMG_2126

The football pitch is the cornerstone of the community, strategically placed and accessible for all Mlango Kubwa’s residents. Used primary for football, sport and play, at times it’s also a place for talent shows, celebrations and other community events. But time, weather conditions and lack of resources have left a toll on its appearance and condition. What was once an astonishing sport facility in the midst of a slum is now rapidly deteriorating public space.

IMG_1674

To try to help out and bring new ideas and perspectives on the issue, UN-HABITAT teamed up with GIZ Sport for Development Africa programme and Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel from University of St. Gallen, an expert in Design Thinking methodology, to run a 2-day workshop with the community. Ran as a pilot in a difficult context of poor urban community, the hope and expectation was to come up with new strategies to revitalize and sustainably maintain the field.

IMG_2113

Despite slow start, the community members attending the workshop came up with some amazing ideas of how to improve the current state of the pitch.  Through rather complex and at times quite challenging steps of the Design Thinking methodology, the community looked at the most pressing issues, including safety and security, drainage, waste management and communication. Here are just few examples of simple interventions that were born that day:

  • Adequate fence around the pitch perimeter, with some kind of roofing to protect from rains
  • Paid caretaker(s)
  • Build-in drainage
  • Regular clean-ups, with competitions between school
  • WhatsApp group to inform the community of events and happenings at/around the pitch

IMG_2121

Funding remains a challenge and will determine the successful implementation of all the ideas that the community envisioned for the football pitch but everyone remains hopeful that over time, they will achieve everything what they set themselves for. UN-HABITAT will continue to support the Mlango Kubwa community and hope that together we can make it happen.

East Africa Cup 2016 – One week in Moshi, the whole year in community

For the second time, UN-HABITAT joined the wider Sport for Development (SPD) community to lend a helping hand at East Africa Cup in Moshi, Tanzania. Despite the budget cuts, which allowed “only” about 1000 children and youth from the region to participate (as opposed to standard 2000+), the event was buzzing with laughter, joy and motivation to create new friendships and learn from each other. The inspiration and energy drawn from “One week in Moshi” often sparks the motivation and enthusiasm to carry the positive messages and action for “the whole year in the community”.

IMG_0747

UN-HABITAT jumps in to deliver one of the morning educational sessions, naturally on Youth & Urbanization. This year, the focus was mainly on Urban – Rural Linkages and Active Citizenship. 53 young men from various marginalized communities in Tanzania and Kenya participated in the three-day workshop, discussing the “push” and “pull” factors for human migration between villages and cities and the urban challenges in towns. Using play and cooperative games to spice up the knowledge-sharing, and the theme of football to keep it interesting, the boys came up with some very interesting findings.

IMG_0741

Somewhat surprising was the gender-element brought to surface. Hardly-ever do we hear from boys, especially as young as 12 year olds, to include “escape from early-marriage” as a reason for many girls to leave the villages. Furthermore, when outlining the contemporary urban challenges in their communities, they mentioned “girls being forced to prostitution” and “rape” among others. It is hard to say whether this gender-sensitivity comes from experience or education but in any way, it is important and really great that boys are starting to speak up for girls.

IMG_0770

Now when EAC 2016 is over, we can start building on the newly gained knowledge, draw lessons and develop further our current and new partnerships to make the next edition even more extraordinary!

 

Rehabilitation of a Sports Field in Mathare

11921839_910524039012935_4781494029206050907_o

In 2014, a well-known community leader named Kaka (Swahili for brother) created a new sporting landmark in Mathare. With the help of many supporters (including UN Habitat), Kaka helped the community reclaim a football pitch. Since then, the space has been a beehive of activity, with kids and youth enjoying the space and community events taking place. The field also hosts lively crusades that attract people from all over and generates income for the group.

11899951_914411018626869_5104537457026355174_n

Most recently with the help of local Mathare MP, Stephen Kariuku, major donations were made that really impacted the only sports pitch in Mlango Kubwa. Safaricom has brought a number of large metal stands that make watching the game so much more enjoyable as previously there was no place to sit. Philips, the electronics giant, has installed two solar panel lights that allow the youth to play and train well into the evening. Both of these donations have helped in the positive long-term effects that this space has provided for the community. Parents in the neighborhood now say that whenever they need to look for their kid they go straight to the field. The rehabilitation of the pitch has greatly reduced the numbers of children playing on the road where they risk getting hit by vehicles. Donations and further support that will improve the space are still being sought.

11889505_914544125280225_8856731792565436606_n

The gripping documentary ‘Slum Soccer’ can be watched here:

 

What’s next for EAC & UN-HABITAT?

20150627_155047

With the finals played on Saturday, it is safe to say that the East Africa Cup 2015 has been a huge success. It was the first time UN-HABITAT has been present and we couldn’t have been more thrilled about the experience. Our Youth & Urbanization workshop was amazing, a creative space where excellent ideas and action plans were born. Tough topic to discuss, perhaps a little challenging too, but the young participants mastered it so well, making us super proud. Some of them stepped up the game even more, leaving their comfort zones and overcoming their own fears from public speaking in English when presenting their work and strategies. Well done!

20150626_100627

It wasn’t just our workshop that left us happy – the whole event was inspiring! Seeing hundreds of kids and young people playing and having fun while learning skills they wouldn’t pick up in formal education, was priceless. EAC is a testimony on how sport can help with capacity building, personal development and social change. It is fantastic mobilizing tool that can simultaneously teach a thing or two in a fun way. One week in Moshi definitely leaves a long lasting positive impact on the communities involved.

20150627_15050520150627_122238

For UN-HABITAT, EAC represents a great arena for youth & community development and we have identified three ways of how we can contribute to support this wonderful event and the amazing organizations behind it.

  1. Since most of the participants come from challenging urban settings, the need for our Youth & Urbanization workshop is rather obvious. Young people need to know they can play important role in finding solutions to some of the urban challenges and we should strive to empower them to do so. For next year, we will try to bring an additional facilitator to reach even more young people. We can also add other thematic workshops that could be useful for the young participants or organize a training of trainers to expand the pool of facilitators able to deliver the urban challenges workshop worldwide.
  2. EAC has been working with youth groups from Somalia for couple years now. There is a possibility to join our efforts on advancing our initiatives in Somalia, building on our individual experiences and expertise.
  3. UN-HABITAT has a great network of motivated and inspirational young people globally and can support EAC to expand to other corners of the world.

Being part of East Africa Cup 2015 has been extremely valuable for UN-HABITAT and for our new Urban Sports Programme. We take the experience, the knowledge and the spirit and try to build on it to advance our work with young people worldwide. We hope that this is just a beginning of a long-lasting partnership and we cannot wait to be involved next year again.

Young people rocking the Youth & Urbanization Workshop at East Africa Cup 2015

20150625_085638[1]

Every morning, 46 participants from different communities in Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya (Dandora) join the Youth & Urbanization workshop organized and run by the UN-HABITAT. For two hours a day, they work in small groups on assessing their communities and towns in terms of sports equipment and facilities using various participatory methodologies.

20150625_085659[1]

The interactive workshop is structured in three parts. Firstly, young people work on mapping their communities. They draw a map of their community and mark the existing landmarks and sports facilities. They discuss and make a wish-list of sports infrastructure that they would like to have. At the end, they are asked to find a space where they think these new facilities could be placed, using their community maps.

20150624_092844[1]

In the second part, they work on their road maps. They think about the current and future scenarios more critically. They discuss the challenges they have and the roots of these problems. They paint the ideal scenario that they would like to see in the future and try to identify enablers – what is going to help them to achieve their dreamt vision. Ultimately, they are guided to come up with action points to bridge the problems with the goals.

On the last day, they will explain the current situation to wider audience and present their strategies to reach their goals.

20150624_092850[1]

The workshops have been a great fun. The energy and ideas of the participants was fantastic, giving is a lot to think about and a lot to work on. The direct consultations with young people are priceless for the UN-HABITAT and we appreciate the enthusiasm that these young people put into this. We can’t wait to see the follow up actions and the first steps of the community change!

20150624_083544[1]

UN-Habitat at East Africa Cup 2015!

20150624_113225[1]

UN-Habitat is extremely proud and delighted to be present at this years’ edition of the East Africa Cup. As a new partner, UN-Habitat organizes and runs daily workshops on Youth & Urbanization with young people from different communities in East Africa region. 

East Africa Cup kicked off today in beautiful Moshi, Tanzania, just under the Kilimanjaro Mountain. With close to 2000 participants, dozens of organizations behind the steering wheel and great number of volunteers, it is the biggest sport for development event in Africa.

Young people from different communities in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda come for a week of fun, learning and sharing in a vibrant multicultural environment. Boys and girls compete in football, volleyball and sitting volleyball competitions while learning about leadership, urbanization challenges, AIDS prevention or conflict resolution. The evenings are set for cultural exchanges with young people performing, dancing and singing all while making new friendships across the borders.

20150624_123612[1]

The EAC organizers remember the bigger picture too, running first aid, safeguarding, coaching and media training sessions prior to the event. This way, so many more young people and community leaders can be involved in the event, even though playing football or volleyball may not be their thing. The diversity of people present is electric and present and excellent opportunity to share experiences and form new partnerships. UN-Habitat is really excited to be invited into this family and is ready to play an active part in successful execution of EAC 2015.

20150624_110306[1]To learn more about the East Africa Cup 2015, check http://www.facebook.com/eastafricacup .