Our fun filled annual Tsavo Sports Day, undertaken in collaboration with Waves, a UK charity focused on supporting children, and their education, in Kenya, is just one of many programs we carry out in communities bordering Tsavo East and West National Parks.
These communities live alongside wildlife, and all too often they share their land together, as wild animals move between the Parks. The level of contact is also on the rise, as habitats once home only to wildlife continue to shrink as human populations expand. This sees the value of activities such as the Sports Day increase year-on-year, as it is critically important that we take steps to engage local people with the natural world and encourage them to see the importance and value of wild animals and why we must work to live together in harmony.
This year’s event, our fourth to-date, took place on Saturday 27th September, bringing together children and teachers from Gideon Mosi (hosts), Kalambe, Sowa, and Gimba schools to compete in netball and football tournaments.
By 8.45am students and teachers from all four participating schools were on-site and our now well practiced exercise of distributing kits to players could begin. Once everyone was set, the DSWT’s Community Officer Samuel Munyao gave an introductory talk to all assembled, outlining the day ahead and importantly giving recognition to Waves for their funding support and provision of the Kerrigan Cups, for which the teams would be competing.
Samuel, and the host school games master Dickson Mazai also spoke about the importance of wildlife and wild spaces, and how we must all stand together to protect them - receiving a welcome and resounding round of applause.
Engaging the next generation in conservation, one child at a time
As in past years, the netball and football matches are played concurrently and by lunchtime the finalists for both sports had been decided through a round robin format. It was then time for lunch and once everyone had taken their fill, students not taking part in the matches, provided wonderful entertainment. Reading poems, performing traditional dances and acting out a short play. This part of the day is so important, as it allows many more children to be a part of this day, showcasing their talents among their peers.
It was then time for the finals, with Gideon Mosi emerging the winners in both the netball tournament, beating Sowa in the final, and the football competition, where they managed to come out on top, 2 goals to nil, in a very competitive match against Kalambe.
With the Kerrigan Cup winners decided, it was down to the teachers and Samuel to decide the recipients of this year’s fair player awards. With an award for each sport, it is down to the teachers and Samuel to choose the recipient's, being the individuals that showed a great attitude, sense of fun and team work. Meggie John from Kalambe took the fair player award in netball, while Martin Katindi from Gideon Mosi took the prize in football. Both winners proudly receiving their fair player shields, and a book about their sport.
The main prize giving included the presentation of the Kerrigan Cups awarded to the winning teams, along with caps and visors for the players, and certificates for both the winning and runner up teams. Of course no one goes home empty handed from this event and every player received a DSWT / Waves Tsavo Sports Day t-shirt.
With over 300 people taking part in the day, this year’s event was a huge success and we would like to thank all the children, teachers, family & friends who made it so, as well as our supportive sponsors Waves. For us, it was so positive to see so many smiling faces and a truly enthusiastic crowd cheering on the children - all coming together for a fun day out, that has wildlife conservation at its core.