This small project was an idea I had when I visited the beautiful province of Niassa, northern Mozambique, in 2006. My aim was to secure enough funding to produce an initial 50 footballs to be distributed throughout the neighbouring villages of the Niassa reserve, with the intention of expanding the project in the future. Through the help of Fauna & Flora International and generous contributions from private donors, this first stage has been possible, and the balls are now in place.
The footballs are produced by a charity called Alive & Kicking and are made strong enough to withstand the harsh conditions of rural Africa. They also carry messages about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and malaria - both very real threats to the people who live in these villages and their children. As well as these educational messages, the footballs are branded with a logo I designed, depicting an African Wild Dog as a flagship species for the reserve.
The future of the people and wilderness in Niassa depends on good cooperation between the reserve management, the communities, and the private concessions around the protected area. This small project will only help to reinforce that cooperation. You can help too by donating a ball: