Fun, Competition and Conservation Lessons at the First Girls’ Football Tournament!
The Lewa Education Programme constantly strives to come up with new ideas to engage the children from the neighbouring Lewa-sponsored schools. This year’s highlight is the first girls’ football tournament, the premier sporting event that saw 10 teams participate in a day full of fun and activity!
The football field next to Lewa’s social hall is more often a domain of male soccer fans who love to indulge in a game after a hard day's work or during lazy weekends. However, on the 13th of July 2012, the field was transformed into a flurry of activity as girls from the neighbouring Lewa-sponsored schools braved the blazing sun to participate in the first-ever girls football tournament. The event, sponsored by Eco-Sys action and organized by the Lewa Education Programme, saw a total of 10 teams participate, with each team proudly representing their school, and the boys for once playing the role of cheerleaders!
The girls, clad in brightly coloured t-shirts and shorts, played continuously entertaining matches proving their worth in what is traditionally a male dominated sport. From the qualifiers to the finals, the teams relentlessly searched for goals in thrilling encounters, in a bid to secure the first spot and take home the grand prize of a goat and a Boopy trophy. From the 10 participating teams, the girls from Karimba and Munanda were the two teams left standing, with Karimba emerging victorious after an exciting last match that capped a successful day. Children enjoyed the company of Boopy, the Eco-sys action eco-detective Orange Mascot who came all the way from France to cheer the teams!
Aptly dubbed, “Conservation Soccer” - the event’s appeal, according to Lewa’s Education Programme Manager Faith Riunga, came from it having the attractive combination of competition and fun, crowned by the uniqueness of it being a girls’ only football competition. Teachers, fellow pupils, invited guests and Lewa staff members all formed part of the engaging audience that watched the girls battle it out.
The girls were also in for a pleasant surprise. After each match the teams were taken on a game drive organized by the Conservation Education Centre, where they got to see Lewa’s resident species like the black rhinos and Grevy’s zebras. During the game drive they were also educated on the benefits of conservation and the preservation of species and sustainable development practises at home and in school.
The Lewa Education Programme hopes to continue providing similarly engaging and educational activities for children from the Lewa neighbouring schools. "And hopefully the next football tournament will be a boys tournament!" Peter Lemayian from Leparua Primary School whispered to Faith Riunga as she bade the children goodbye.