"We want to celebrate communities
and individuals who sacrifice communal land, time and energy to make National and Transfrontier Parks not only possible but there for the whole world to enjoy,
to adventure through and there to protect the environment for the next generations."
Vince Mehers, Friends of Mutale
World Parks, World Cup is a both a unique competition that is based around communities, park authorities, law enforcement and lodges within or near transfrontier boundaries and outreach programmes targeting primary school around the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Local regional competitions lead to an international finals tournament, which decides the champion of the transfrontier park. With other parks joining this will eventually culminate in a grand final competition to find the ‘World Parks, World Cup’ champion. This can help inspire people locally and globally to consider the real value behind Transfrontier Parks: People, Environment and Conservation.
Our outreach programme targets 18 primary schools between South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, we use sport to tackle social issues such as gender equality, health, motivation, confidence and most importantly conservation. We follow a sport for social development methodology which is brought to the schools through our community coaches, who follow a self-directed learning philosophy by listening to the students, creating and adapting games, to target local social issues.
In the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sport’s role for social progress is further acknowledged:
"Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives."
Three Nations, One Dream: Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Football Championship
Football and Africa are synonymous. Every village - no matter how small or remote - has a football pitch, every child learns to pack plastic bags tightly into a ball to use as a football, and every village shebeen has people glued to TV's, watching football matches.
Communities from South Africa and Mozambique who lie within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area participated in the world's first community-based transfrontier football competition. Plans are underway for Zimbabwe to participate in the 2017 Championships.
Participation for youth (18-35) and school children (5-17) from the three nations will form the backbone of this competition. By harnessing the energy of the youth and by directing it towards conservation and sport, the hope is that the next generations who come from these communities will understand why protected areas and conservation efforts exist and to be proud of the natural wonders of their communities.
With the rise in poaching in protected areas, it is paramount to tackle this problem from every angle. By engaging youth, the issue of poaching will be tackled head on, encouraging potential future poachers to turn to conservation and to protect their natural resources in a responsible way.