Green Kick Off for Laikipia & Beyond Unity Football Cup in Kenya

Cameroon Star, Samuel Eto'o is Patron

Nairobi, 11 June 2010 - The inaugural Laikipia and beyond Unity Cup (LUC), will commence on a green note, Friday, with the players taking a "Green Pledge" at the start of the tournament.

The first of four regional events, Friday's match will be inaugurated at Nyakio Primary School, Lamuria, in Central Laikipia District.

This is the first time a green soccer tournament is being held in Laikipia, and Moreso, with environmental aspects integrated into it.

Based on the success of the LUC, the games are expected to be scaled up to other districts.

Organized by the Zeitz Foundation and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the event will also feature weekend environmental education discussions as side events.

The Laikipia and Beyond Unity Cup is sponsored by Safaricom, under the patronage of Cameroon Football captain, Samuel Eto'o,

Accompanied by former Cameroon Captain, Roger Milla, Eto'o is expected to attend the finals at the Nanyuki Municipal Stadium on 21 and 22 July 2010.

Regional events will be organized in Sosian, Uaso Nyiro, Kisima and Lamuria from 11 June until 9 July 2010 with the aim of creating unity and understanding amongst the diverse communities and raising awareness of environmental issues amongst Kenyan youth,

A total of thirty two teams will compete at the four events for regional honours, with each region then selecting the best players from the eight teams within their region to form a Combined Team to represent the region in the Finals in Nanyuki.

The teams are drawn from rural communities, local institutions, local government authorities and commercial ranches.

The Mathare Youth Sports Association will send a team to each region to play the Select Combined Regional team in an exhibition match. Visiting teams from Nairobi will be treated to game drives to experience wildlife and nature, firsthand.

Laikipia District has one of the most diverse cultural and tribal groupings in the country. The unique Laikipia ecosystem encompasses unblemished wilderness, the mighty Mount Kenya, arid drylands savannah and forest, thus providing a unique setting for football matches.

To tie in with Africa's celebration of the World Cup, the organisers have arranged for live screening of the matches during the regional events.

The dates are:

Central Unit, 11-13 June at Nyakio Primary School, Lamuria,

Western Unit, 18-20 June at Sosian Centre,

Uaso Nyiro Unit, 2-4 July at Kimanju Primary School,

Eastern Unit, 9-11 July at North Kenya Polo Grounds, Kisima.

Finals on 21-22 July at Nanyuki Municipal Stadium

For further information please contact:

Liz Rihoy, Programme Director,

Zeitz Foundation, Nairobi Office Tel: +254 73 650 3249

Notes to Editors

Green Pledge

The Green Pledge reads: "The Earth is our home and together we must conserve our precious water, land, forests and wildlife. I am proud to pledge that I will unite with others throughout Laikipia and that I will give a red card to environmental destruction and defend our natural heritage."

The Zeitz Foundation

The Zeitz Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere Safety (I.E.S.) is inspired by a vision of the Ecosphere – our planet and all of its life-sustaining regions – maintained in the healthiest possible state, and is committed to promoting an inclusive, holistic paradigm of conservation that enhances livelihoods and fosters intercultural dialogue.

The mission of the Foundation is to create and support sustainable, socially and ecologically responsible projects and destinations around the world to achieve long lasting impact and sustainability through the holistic balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce (the 4C's) in privately managed areas.

The Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF)

LWF is a member driven organisation that brings together land owners and resource users of all kinds including large-scale ranchers, small scale farmers and pastoralists to tackle the challenges in the Laikipia ecosystem. They work together to achieve a common goal: Conserving the integrity of the Laikipia ecosystem, by creatively managing its natural resources to improve the livelihood of its people. Laikipia Wildlife Forum is the first institution of its kind to develop a significant capacity to foster development and conservation goals on a district-wide level.

UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the UN system. Established in 1972, UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development. It works with many partners, UN entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, the media and civil society. UNEP's work involves providing support for: environmental assessment and reporting; legal and institutional strengthening and environmental policy development; sustainable use and management of natural resources; integration of economic development and environmental protection; and promoting public participation in environmental management.

Other Sponsors

The Laikipia and beyond Unity Cup is also supported by many other institutions, including the British Army who are providing the infrastructure for the players accommodation and pitches; the Kenya Airforce base and Nanyuki District Hospital who are running free medical camps and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) who will run community environmental activities each weekend. The South African High Commission in their capacity as the host Nation of the 2010 Football World CupTM, are also a partner in the event.

International Year of Biodiversity

In a bid to curb the unprecedented loss of the world's species due to human activity - at a rate some experts put at 1,000 times the natural progression - the United Nations is marking 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, with a slew of events highlighting the vital role the phenomenon plays in maintaining the life support system on Planet Earth.


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