Location and general information
The Maasai Mara ecosystem is one of the largest wildlife conservation areas in East Africa and is home to several conservancies that make a significant contribution to Kenya's tourism revenue. The Lemek conservancy is home to many marginalised children with a passion for sports. Most local public schools are attended by underprivileged children and lack basic social amenities. There are no football pitches but there is plenty of land on which to build one. Water4Wildlife Maasai Mara identified a public primary school as the ideal location to build a modern sports ground to serve children from the various conservancies. By playing football, 300 children aged 4–16 will be able to build new friendships, nurture their talents and learn teamwork skills. Through learning about wildlife conservation, it is hoped they will grow up to be future conservationists.
Water4Wildlife teaches the children about the various dangers facing wildlife and the threat of extinction. They are also taught about the dangers of poaching and eating game meat, and reassured that they can report it to the rangers in safety. During football tournaments, the game rangers will have a chance to kick a ball with the schoolchildren and talk about the importance of wildlife conservation.
Football games are also organised at local hotels and lodges between the visitors and the children. This gives the children the opportunity to meet the visitors, share their dreams and gain an understanding of why the visitors come to the Maasai Mara to see wildlife.
The project will build the local community's first football pitch at a public primary school. Better recreational and community sports opportunities for the children will not only improve their health and help them to acquire a variety of skills, but also help to break the cycle of idleness, vice and child labour.
- Construct a football pitch that will connect all the children from various conservancies in the Maasai Mara ecosystem.
- Promote sports and community development in the young population.
- Use sports as an avenue for wildlife conservation from an early age.
- Creating public awareness about wildlife and children’s sports.
- Conducting site clearance and an environmental survey.
- Constructing the pitch and procuring sports equipment.
- Launching the project at the annual inter-conservancy sports competition.
- Continuous monitoring of the project for the first three years before handing over to the local conservancy communities.
- 300 girls and boys will have access to the sports field.
- A safe environment for children.
- Improved relationships between communities and with tourists.
- Improved wildlife conservation due to greater awareness.
- Children will be more integrated thanks to better social skills, greater self-confidence, teamworking skills and stronger friendships.
- Children will be taught discipline through sports.
- Children will apply the dedication and hard work acquired through sports to their studies to achieve greater academic success.