Football Spirit in the Jungle

This Entry has been submitted.

Football Spirit in the Jungle

Cameroon
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The “Football Spirit in the Jungle” Project brings together indigenous villagers--including villagers with disabilities--from the Tikar and Bedzan Pygmy tribes through local football tournaments, which promote disability rights, disability awareness, conflict resolution, community organizing, health promotion, and leadership development.

This project is unique because it relies on the vision, leadership, and participation of people with disabilities and women in organizing community-wide football tournaments in the middle of the equatorial rainforest of Cameroon.

The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project creates unique opportunities for people with disabilities and women in marginalized communities to participate equitably in football tournaments in key leadership roles, including coaching, community organizing, teaching, awareness raising, and public speaking.

Please read more about Ibrahim, the young football coach in the photo, in "the story" below...

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project addresses the problems that local community members have identified as the most critical challenges that they face in their daily lives. The Tikar youth played an essential role in assessing current community needs. HITIP provided recycled cameras and tape recorders to Tikar youth so that they could ask fellow villagers about their most pressing needs and the challenges that they face. Villagers were deeply engaged in these interviews and they were eager to share their perspectives and ideas on ways to improve their own communities. The following are the critical needs that the indigenous villagers identified: 1- Lack of opportunities, resources, and support for people with disabilities. 2- Limited or non-existent health care and educational opportunities. 3- Lack of access to reliable reproductive health information. 4- Absence of leadership opportunities for people with disabilities and women. 5- Lack of access to communication infrastructure. 6- Strained relations between neighboring communities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project is unique because it originated in the heart of the equatorial rainforest and it relies on the vision, ingenuity, and abilities of people with disabilities and women. This is not a project that was developed and introduced from outside the community but it is "locally grown". The project is unique because it focuses on each and every participant's abilities, rather than focusing on disabilities. The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project recognizes that all of the indigenous villagers--regardless of perceived disabilities--have unique and valuable abilities that can contribute to the greater good. Opportunities for people with disabilities and women are scarce in the the isolated Tikar region of Cameroon. These rainforest communities are marginalized and the villagers there have no running water, no electricity, severely limited access to health care, and no access to services specifically for people with disabilities. The average family earns $15 a month. This project is also unique because it focuses the incredible richness of human potential and capacity rather than focusing on the lack of material or financial resources. The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project creates opportunities for people with disabilities to participate equitably in the football tournaments in key leadership roles, including coaching, community organizing, teaching, awareness raising, and public speaking. This project also cultivates a deeper sense of solidarity and cooperation between the villagers, including people with disabilities, women, men, elders, children, members of neighboring tribes, and albinos. Each community-wide football tournament focuses on a specific, relevant theme that is chosen by the villagers to address critical social issues, such as disability awareness, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention, education, conflict resolution, and biodiversity.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The impact and success of the "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project has been due to the leadership and participation of people with disabilities and women in organizing, energizing, and mobilizing community members from different villages to participate in community-based football tournaments. In the last year alone, the "Football Spirit in the Jungle" reached more than 8,000 villagers who live without phones, newspapers, television, or internet. In spite of those challenges, thousands of villagers received information, training, and resources as they learned about HIV/AIDS prevention. The project has also brought together many diverse indigenous communities in the equatorial rainforest of Cameroon around the game of football. The project has also increased increased cooperation between villagers and has brought together village chiefs both on and off the football field. The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project has had a profound impact on communities in the Tikar region. The project has (1) Increased awareness about disability rights, (2) Provided opportunities for people with disabilities to build their self-esteem and confidence, (3) Made local football tournaments more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities and for women, (4) Brought free medical care to villagers for the first time, (5) Delivered medical equipment to polio survivors and people with paralysis, (6) Mobilized youth to participate in problem solving at the community-wide level, (7) Offered health education workshops for families, and (8) Increased educational opportunities for children and adults.
About You
Organization:
Hope International for Tikar People (HITIP)
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Issa

Last Name

Nyaphaga

Organization

Hope International for Tikar People (HITIP)

Country

, CEN

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Hope International for Tikar People (HITIP)

Organization Phone

+(1).202.415.7643

Organization Address

BP 001, Ngambe Tikar, Mbam, Cameroon

Organization Country

, CEN

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, CEN

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

The "Football Sprit in the Jungle" Project has been successful because the actions we are taking are initiated by the community members themselves and they are developed from the ground up not from the top down.
1- We have developed collaborative partnerships with communities, local schools, and other non-governmental organizations in the region.
2- Every year, we bring Dr. Georges Bwelle, a local Cameroonian surgeon, and his volunteer medical team to the villages to provide free health care, which includes consultations, medications and surgeries for the Tikar people.
3- Since 2002, we have brought medical equipment to people with disabilities, including all-terrain wheelchairs, crutches, and canes.
4- We have provided school supplies, clothing, and toys to children from 10 villages.
5- We worked with villagers to conduct a community-based survey and needs assessment---the first of its kind to be done in the area.
6- Our local Project Coordinator, Oumarou Mebouack, visits communities regularly and organizes ongoing projects, including the "Football Spirit in the Jungle" project.
7- We are creating networks of support with organizations from around the world.

Results

We have already experienced many positive results because of the dedication, determination, and strength of the villagers who are participating in the "Football Spirit in the Jungle" Project. Even with limited funding and absence of formal infrastructure, we have been able to provide leadership opportunities for people with disabilities and women, ease tension between communities, and increase access to healthcare and education for marginalized, indigenous villagers.
We are dedicated to building on these successes and we are looking forward to the following results:
1- Increased community organization and involvement in creating sustainable projects that benefit all community members.
2- Additional leadership and educational opportunities for women and people with disabilities.
3- Improved health, education, transportation, and communication infrastructure in the region through cooperative activities.
4- Increased number of workshops to provide accessible, relevant health and reproductive health education for women and their families.
5- Greater self-esteem and self-confidence in individuals with disabilities, youth, and women.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

2010: This year, the key to success will be increased funding to support the momentum that has already been generated by the project and by the participating villagers. We have experienced successes in terms of community organizing, leadership development, and opportunities for women and people with disabilities. This is a pivotal moment for the project in which increased funding would allow the project to reach even more villagers.

2011: In 2011, we will continue to increase the sustainability of the project through a variety of actions and activities. Capacity building opportunities for people with disabilities, our ongoing partnership with ASCOVIME (a medical and educational non-profit organization in Cameroon), access to reliable transportation between villages, and equipment and materials for the annual football tournament will contribute to the success of the project. We will explore options for green energy for the villages that have no electricity.

2012: By this time, we hope to increase the financial sustainability through tournament sponsorships, which will generate income to support the project. We would also like to share this innovative idea with other communities throughout Cameroon and eventually throughout Africa.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" has already overcome a variety of challenges that could have prevented the project from happening. We recognize that challenges often lead to innovation, creativity, and ingenuity. Lack of funding for the project would be the biggest barrier to success. The communities have an abundance of human resources that have already made the seemingly impossible become possible. Without financial support to sustain the villagers' efforts and dedication, the "Football Spirit in the Jungle" project would not be able to reach its full potential.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, CEN

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

Hope International for Tikar People (HITIP)

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Our organization, Hope International for Tikar People, has established and cultivated partnerships at the local, regional, national, and international level. We understand the power of partnership and we realize that our successes are the result of equitable collaboration with other organizations. The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" project is founded on the principle of partnership. Our partnerships also create momentum and motivation for the supporters of our project and for the project participants.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1. Secure funding to support programmatic needs, specifically for the Project Coordinator, who is currently a full-time volunteer, and for the volunteer team on the ground in the communities.
2. Increase leadership development and potential human resources in the community through access to healthcare and education.
3. Provide additional technical assistance and training for individuals with disabilities to increase self-reliance and encourage equitable participation in the community.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Seeing Ibrahim, a teen polio survivor, in his wheelchair surrounded by the village football team that he coaches was the defining moment that led us to this innovation.

Even though he will never play himself, Ibrahim's passion for football is undeniable. He loves the game and he wants to be a part of it. Ibrahim didn't allow his disability to stop him from being a leader in the sport in his isolated, marginalized community in the equatorial rainforest of Cameroon.

*Ibrahim inspired the creation of Hope International for Tikar People (HITIP).
*Ibrahim encouraged the participation of women and people with disabilities in the indigenous Tikar community.
*Ibrahim expressed a natural leadership ability. The "Football Spirit in the Jungle" is a powerful example of his ability to inspire other members of the community to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The social innovator behind this idea is Ibrahim Abdoulaye, a seventeen year old polio survivor and wheelchair user who lives in the equatorial rainforest of Cameroon.

Ibrahim was the first person in his village to receive a wheelchair from HITIP and since that time he has been unstoppable. He coaches the village football team, he has completed his primary education, he repairs other villagers' wheelchairs, and he is an avid photographer. In Ibrahim's isolated village, there is no running water, no electricity and there are no phones and no computers. Ibrahim is a self-taught mechanic and is the only electrician in the village.

Ibrahim is a role model for the young children and teens in the village due to his perseverance, patience, and passion for helping others. He is the inspiration behind the "Football Spirit in the Jungle" project and his social innovations need to be supported.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

Peace and Collaborative Network (NING)