The link between soccer and conservation may not be totally clear – but there are many organizations (WILD included) who incorporate sport, primarily soccer, into their youth-engagement and outreach programs. Let’s look at WILD’s Isandlwana program, the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) and Coaching for Conservation.
Isandlwana – Zulu Village Project
One of the many facets of the Isandlwana program is a youth soccer team. Uniforms and other materials were donated to the team, and in return they are asked to watch over the fruit orchard. The teams played an important role in planting the trees and in return were surprised with soccer posts! This program supports both youth engagement and leadership, community food production and environmental stewardship.
Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA)
The PASA Soccer Project uses youth soccer to promote wildlife protection in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and seven other African nations. Member sanctuaries in each country adopt a local youth team and provide the players with uniforms and equipment. Uniforms features conservation messages, in the local language. Teams also participate in conservation workshops and activities in return for the sponsorship. Initial results show a significant increase in conservation awareness and support in the communities.
Coaching for Conservation
Focused on the fundamental values: respect for self, the environment, and a positive outlook for the future, Coaching for Conservation has created an exceptional youth soccer teams and workshops in Botswana. In 2008 the program ran a week long world class soccer coaching camp being offered to 500 children from all 18 primary schools in Maun. Coaching for Conservation successfully helps children develop their football (soccer) skills while reinforcing important core values around health,citizenship and conservation.