We're delighted to present a post from the Digital Diversity blog on National Geographic's Newswatch site, referenced with permission. Read the original post here.
Njenga Kahiro, Kinship Conservation Fellow and member of the Zeitz Foundation, started the Laikipia Unity Cup in 2010 when he decided to combine environmental education and a football tournament. Laikipia is a county in central Kenya where conflict between warring communities and stripping of natural resources are both fairly common. Njenga, with the help of his foundation, put together football teams from each region , usually combining young citizens of quarreling communities, and host a tournament that included matches, educational theater, and local conservation projects. The teams were made up of 2, 360 players and thousands of fans showed up for the tournament. Players were required to register their mobile phone numbers so they could be entered into FrontlineSMS by the organizers. Teams could not win by simply beating their competition on the field, but were also a part of a sustainability challenge run through FrontlineSMS and based on the "4 c's" of conservation, community, culture and commerce.
The hosts of the event used FrontlineSMS for everything from live match statistics to surveying local regions for specific environmental needs. FrontlineSMS also helped be the middle man between angry fans and referees through the Zeitz Foundation's brilliant idea of having an audience feedback line for the fans in the crowd who disagreed with a call. Instead of having a conflict in the middle of the game The Zeitz Foundation had such a positive reaction towards the tournament that they created a year-round environmental education program and have continued to host the Laikipia Unity Cup for three years in a row.
Read more on the National Geographic Website.