WHAT is the relationship between the eight MDGs and the ‘coming of age’ of Soccer on the African Continent?

Posted on 11 March 2010. Filed under: Lifestyle, MDGs, Sports |

For when the sounds of the ‘vuvuzela’ start blurring across four South African cities, MDG campaigners will also stand up to make a point in order to be heard.

A few days ago, the clock chimed a 100 days left before the global curtain is raised on the first-ever World Cup on African soil and for a continent where the poverty situation has almost adorned a lifestyle status, the soccer balls that will be kicked around in Johannesburg’s Soccer City and other stadiums during the World Cup in South Africa will not be far-off from this sad reality.

The host nation itself, is grappling with glaring poverty coming on the backdrop of the generations long apartheid system in that country.

But that notwithstanding, for the nations surrounding South Africa and those beyond, this country is an economic colossus and is a beacon of hope for many and it is therefore clear that the FIFA 2010 World Cup cannot be isolated from the issues that MDGs activists seek to entrench and achieve towards the attainment of the goals by 2015.

Last week, the Civil Society MDG- Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) Zambia in collaboration with the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) launched a ‘Kick Out Poverty’ Campaign towards the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa in June.
“The Civil Society MDG campaign has identified the FIFA 2010 world football cup to be hosted in South Africa as a major opportunity for leveraging and raising the profile of its activities targeted at supporting citizens’ efforts to hold their governments to account for the accelerated achievement of MDGs in Zambia,” GCAP Zambia national director Dennis Nyati explained. “The World Cup will be used as a platform to organise many memorable public mobilisation actions and re-position the MDG campaign strategically both within Zambia and globally.”

Nyati said proposed activities in the campaign would be useful in publicising and deepening policy tasks with the aim of strategically influencing the reports that would be prepared and presented to Zambian governments during the 2010 reviews leading to the high level summit in New York.

The implementation of the ‘Kick out Poverty’ comes on the basis that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Millennium Declaration and the beginning of the last lap to 2015 when the MDGs are expected to be achieved.

“2010 for Zambia means the year for political parties to prepare manifestos that mainstream MDGs in their political pronouncements and aspirations. This event will also give political momentum to civic activism and people’s rights to participate in decisions and actions that affect them and consequently offer an additional opportunity to put basic rights at the centre of citizen participation at the centre,” Nyati says.

Nyati further observes that ‘Kick Out Poverty Campaign’ therefore provides space for alternative policies including a more developmental role for the state.

“This marks a continuation of the climate change negotiations, the outcomes of which are crucial to prospects of achieving the MDGs. 2010 is also a special year in Zambia because the country will be among other African countries that will be hosting soccer fans and teams participating to this year’s World Cup,” Nyati points out. “2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the hard-fought independence of several African countries. It marks the 20th anniversary of the launching of the Human Development Report and Human Development indices. It also marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark speech by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in Accra and later in Johannesburg when he declared that the wind of change blowing through Africa was irreversible, a speech which recognised the irreversibility of the tide of political independence as well as the anti-apartheid struggle in Southern Africa.”

Nyati adds further, “2010 is also the year when the World Cup comes to a football-crazy Africa for the first time. These landmark occasions represent a challenge, a sense of urgency and an inspiration.”

It has been said that the rules of soccer are very simple, basically it is this: if it moves kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does, which sums up the game and really goes to the heart of the Millennium Campaign’s thematic thinking for the 2010 World Cup – ‘Kick out Poverty’.

To sum it all, the story of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, is one that culminates into an African contemporary folklore, with chapters on African poverty, sports revolution, political discourse and a time to make a ‘Piga Debe’ or in other words a big noise on the MDGs.

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Linking Sport and the Environment to the Peace and Poverty Agenda in Kenya

Posted on 19 June 2008. Filed under: Environment, Governance, Lifestyle, MDGs, Media, Poverty, Sports |


UNEP and Underprivileged Children and Youth Kick Off New Reconciliation Initiative

Nairobi, 18 June 2008–More than 300 children and teenagers from across Nairobi will gather on 21 June for the launch of a three-month event to promote peace and reconciliation.

The ‘Play for the Planet: Play for Peace’ initiative, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has received about $40,000 of support in cash and in kind from UNEP, the International Olympic Committee and sports-goods maker PUMA, as well as the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and ABC Bank. It will run until 21 September to coincide with World Peace Day.

The event aims to use the power of sport to promote peace and reconciliation among Kenyans, and to provide a positive environment for interaction for young people affected by the recent post-election conflict in Kenya.

The 21 June launch at the Kenya Cultural Centre will include theatre performances, acrobatic shows, peace and environmental messages and a live concert, as well as an exhibition of paintings by internally displaced children.

A series of events for children and youth aged 6 to 24 will then take place in schools and communities across the parts of Nairobi most affected by the recent unrest: the informal settlements of Mathare, Huruma, Mathare North, Kibera, Dandora and Korogocho.

Activities in schools and at community level will include talks, drama workshops, tree planting and a clean-up of the Nairobi river, as well as weekend sports tournaments. Community-based organizations will help implement the activities, and youth peer counsellors trained by UN-HABITAT will also provide counselling to the affected and traumatized children.

Kenyan sports personalities such as world-famous marathon runners Paul Tergat and Catherine Ndereba will attend some of the events.

Based on the success of the event, UNEP may consider extending the initiative to other parts of the country which were affected by the unrest.

Notes to editors

This is the first edition of UNEP’s sports and peace initiative. The aim is to use sport as an avenue to promote and foster peace, in line with UNEP’s long term strategy on Sport and the Environment endorsed by UNEP Governing Council in 2003.

Homeboyz radio will provide live coverage for the opening event on 21 June.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 762 3084; Mobile: 254 733 632 755 or when traveling +41 795 965 737; E-mail:

Or Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 20 762 3088, Mobile: + 254 728600494; E-mail:

Or Theodore Oben, Chief of UNEP’s Outreach Unit, on Tel: +254 724 255 247; E-mail:

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KENYA’S GOLF COURSES: A threat to the Environment?

Posted on 21 August 2007. Filed under: Sports |


THE OTHER SIDE: The well kept lawns of the Royal Nairobi Golf Course perimeter fence separating the course with the Kibera Slums

In the developed world, the game of golf is being increasingly brought into focus due to environmental and social concerns.

Citizen groups in Asia have gone as far as sponsoring conferences on anti-golf course and resort development that attracted delegates from far and wide. One meeting concluded with the launch of a “Global Anti-Golf Movement” to coordinate regional opposition to such development.

Although not an olympic event as yet, the game of golf is now poised to be played in the forthcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, not because it is an athletic event, but because its presence in the olympic roster will attract prominent US golfers led by Tiger Woods. That automatically translates to millions of dollars in sponsorship money for the IOC. In addition, IOC top executives themselves are ardent golfers.

A Japanese environmental activist estimated that an 18-hole golf course consumes enough water to meet the daily needs of 2,000 families – in first world terms. Obviously this figure would be much higher in third world terms. The same size course requires three to four tons of various germicides, herbicides and pesticides every year to be applied on the courses as substitutes for natural ecosystems so that the green and fairways remain ‘healthy’. These harmful chemicals normally find their way into Kenya’s water wells, rivers and lakes.

According to, “Kenya is the world’s 10 best golfing secrets and has about 40 golf courses-more than any other African country except South Africa. And the balmy climate of Kenya could have been made specially for the game. In fact, Kenya has all the right ingredients to rival the Mediterranean as a winter golf destination.”

Kenya Golf Union member clubs number about 15 golf courses in the Nairobi area, plus twenty others scattered around the country, not counting the private 18-hole championship courses at the five star Windsor Golf & County Club, Safari Park Hotel or the world famous Mt. Kenya Safari Club. Many other private courses are to be found around the country in private ranches, farms and even military institutions. About a dozen or so courses in Kenya are 18-hole and classified as worthy of hosting championship events. In contrast, the country has just one or two FIFA class soccer stadiums, their present condition notwithstanding

On the social front, Kenyans will remember that poor residents of Mathare Valley slums were last week violently dispersed and tear-gassed by anti-riot police for peacefully protesting against the Nairobi Water Company’s decision to disconnect water supplies to the slums because most of these connections are considered ‘illegal’. Illegal water vending booths owners are known to conspire with corrupt NWC workers to fleece slum dwellers who pay more money for treated water than any other consumers in the country. And now someone is telling you that golf courses in the Nairobi region consume enough treated water each year to adequately carter for the entire slum for ages!

An amateur golfer, even by third world standards, has to invest in club membership fees, annual subscriptions and golfing equipment whose cost runs up to a couple hundred of thousands shillings. On the other hand, caddies (people who carry the golf clubs for those playing golf) survive on meagre earnings with absolutely no social security or fixed income. While Kenyan caddies earn just a hundred shillings or two per session, Steve Williams, who has been Tiger Woods’ official caddie, is one of the highest paid ‘sportsmen’ in the world.

Kenya’s business executives are trooping to golf clubs in large numbers. Coupled with that, the Ministry of Tourism has enhanced its campaigns for sports tourism, with Kenya’s world renowned golf-courses and year round good weather, the country will see demand for the development of more courses and resorts and ultimately increased environmental and social degradation.

Further reading: Golf Courses and the Environment

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    A blog created to cover environmental and political information in Kenya with a view to promoting POVERTY ALLEVIATION through creating awareness of the Millennium Development Goals


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