Youth, Football & Agroecology
What does agroecology have to do with football? You'd be forgiven for wondering. However, after attending youth dialogues in the 3 Wards (Mhandarume Ward 2, Chakohwa Ward 3 and Rupise Ward 5), the idea of playing football games as a way to attract youth to agroecology came to us. We held some meetings and decided to start playing the games. Six teams registered. In each team 25 players and 5 officials. Grace Gumba was chosen to be the sport programme coordinator. Daniel Tsinakwadi, a qualified football coach, was responsible for the fixtures. All the teams agreed to pay $70 RTGS as an affiliation fee. This was used to buy some football balls.
In April we did a one day Agroecology training at PORET Centre with 28 football players. We used that opportunity to give them a tour of the Centre to learn about Permaculture Land Use Design.
Competition rules and regulations were set in line with the common laws of the games. Between June and September we played 30 games in our PORET tournament, with the final held on the 7 September. It also worked as a tool for the HIV and AIDS awareness campaign as some of the health workers could educate players or supporters on the match days. At each game, we did short meetings about planting trees. Many of the players got involved with tree planting, both on the grounds of the games and also taking trees home with them to plant.
The programme has raised lots of interest and courage from the youth to continue learning about agroecology while playing football.