October 23, 2010

World Cup in My Village Field Report – Mongu, Zambia

Posted in Final Reports at 4:44 pm by kampala2capetown

By George Githuma, Zambia Site Coordinator

Crowd waiting for World Cup screen to go up near Mongu, Zambia

Mongu is a small town situated in the Western part of Zambia, 600kms from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. It is the administrative town of the western province of Zambia and it is home to the Lozi people. It is a 6 to 8 hour drive from Lusaka to this town which is known for the Kwomboka ceremony. The Kwomboka ceremony is an annual event where the tribal king (also known as the Litunga), moves from his palace in the flood plain using a large canoe, to his other palace in the high land. World Cup in My Village (WCIMV) project took the World Cup to this remote town of Zambia.

Sunset in Zambia village outside Mongu

The project which was a partnership between UNICEF, Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF) and local partners aimed to show the World Cup in remote areas of the Western province using a projector and a large inflatable screen. WCIMV was a great experience for Mongu residence and especially the children. The project reached out to more than 6,000 (60%-70% being children) people in seven villages of Mongu over a weeks time. The screening of the matches took place between 4.00pm and 10.30pm and this happened at community schools in these villages.

Kids in Mongu, Zambia

This made it easy for most people to attend as the schools were considered central venues by the residents. It was also easy to get the word out about the matches, using the school administration. Most of the residents in these villages did not have television sets in homes, neither did they have electricity.

In one of the villages we went to, most of the kids had been watching the World Cup at the school head teacher residence as he was the only person with a television set in the area, and they had to pay for that. For others, they had been depending on radio for results of matches and updates on the tournament.Before the start of the project, CRF held a two day radio workshop with 17 youth journalists. The journalist who were between 12 and 18 years old were given training on interviews and on doing stories for radio. The youth journalist would help in documenting the project using radio.

Some of the stories they produced can be found on www.childrensradiofoundation.org or http://www.unicef.org.

Laz, a wonderful Grassroots Soccer Facilitator

They were also trained to carry out talk shows which happened during half time of matches. The youth journalists involved in the project were really excited to acquire radio skills and carry out interviews with their fellow youths and opinion leaders in the community. They also visited two community radio stations, Radio Liseli and Radio Liambai, who were willing to work with them after the project. Zambia is generally a peaceful country and thus security was not a big concern. We however had two armed police officers every day for the security of our equipment.

The police officers also helped in controlling the crowd around the equipment. For our electricity, we had a 2000watts generator, since the community schools we went to, did not have power. We had a technician on site every day to make sure we had quality signal and any electrical hitches were sorted out.However the project was organised in a short span of time, most of the stake holders including the local partners, District Education Department and the schools where the matches were held, felt that they more time was need to prepare.

The timing of the games was also not the best for the children as the games ran up to 10.30pm which is quite late for the children. Some of the children were not accompanied by parents to the event and it was really hard to establish if they would get home safely after the matches. Most of the kids also, did not have proper dressing for the cold night. It was also hard for the parents of the youth journalists, who were still in school, to allow them to stay out all that late.

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