Sport meets environmental sustainability in Kenya
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February 2015 is the official opening of Samuel Eto’o Laikipia Unity Football Academy, School and Environmental Education Centre. To mark the occasion sportanddev sat down with Zeitz Foundation's executive director Dr Liz Rihoy to talk about the vision of sustainability that inspires the project.

Launched in August 2014 and set to officially open this month, the Samuel Eto'o academy reflects the need for all development projects to consider approaching initiatives with sustainability in mind.

In addition to being the only football Academy in East Africa, the school serves as the major demonstration and training site for rainwater harvesting, conservation agriculture and reforestation.

The Eto'o Academy owes its architectural design to PITCH Africa. Can you give us some more details?

Zeitz Foundation and PitchAfrica (PA) have collaborated in those aspects of this project relating to infrastructural development. PA is the originator of the stadium concept and the designer of the Samuel Eto'o Laikipia Unity Stadium.

The stadium is the first of its kind. The Eto'o Academy consists of five new buildings in addition to the stadium, which were also designed by PA. These designs will be available on an open source basis and plans are in place to use similar architecture elsewhere in Kenya.

How does the school curriculum bring sport and sustainable practices together?
These new facilities have ensured that sport and sustainable development can become integral components of the school curriculum. For example the Kenyan school curriculum offers agriculture as an examinable subject.

The conservation agriculture training facilities ensure that the agricultural training offered is environmentally sustainable in the semi-arid environment of Laikipia. Likewise the new sport facilities and training offered ensure that sport becomes mainstreamed in the curriculum and life of the school.

Meanwhile the Environmental Education Centre provides first class facilities and training for the school’s 'Eco-Club' which hundreds of students attend.

What about the 4Cs, and more specifically, the C relating to commerce?
The academy epitomises the 4Cs principles, with conservation, community and culture being at the forefront of all aspects from infrastructural design, projects at the academy and the curriculum.

Commerce is integrated to ensure that the academy becomes financially sustainable. The agriculture gardens generate both food for the school and income from produce sales. The facilities can be hired out as a training venue when the school is not in session and the stadium - one of only two stadiums in the county - can be hired for a variety of sports activities.

Longer term, the academy will sell players into the Kenyan and other leagues and the income generated will be reinvested into the academy and school to ensure a sustainable revenue stream.



Football (Soccer)

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