Nairobi ~ Kenya
Peter Karanja is Director of MYSA Mathare Youth Sports Association, Niarobi, Kenya, Sports and Culture Since 1987, MYSA has pioneered many innovations in youth sports, environmental improvement and community development. The MYSA football league, with over 1000 teams from Mathare and the engulfing slums of Nairobi, does more than simply keep the kids physically fit and off the street; every weekend, 25-30 teams from MYSA clear the garbage and ditches around their homes. In August 1997, the Shootback Photography Programme was introduced not only to strengthen co-operative relationships between MYSA youth as well as offer a vocational outlet for their creative energies but also to be a medium of expression on their likes and dislikes in the slums. In 2003 MYSA received a Prince Claus Award from which the relation developed. By connecting the MYSA Academy to the Prince Claus Fund’s network, both envisage a broadening of chances to reach out to similar projects in neighboring African countries and to make their knowledge and network available for cultural development. MYSA has already links with refugee camps and beyond having the capacity to extend its activities and links into zones of silence and crucial areas of migration. The reach of the MYSA network into these areas is of importance for the Prince Claus Fund. Just as football, a cultural activity in its own right, has been used as a tool for encouraging co-operation, raising self esteem and promoting physical and environmental health in the Mathare community, video productions and photography by and for the youth themselves has been a powerful developmental, educational and vocational tool. Cultural activities are planned to run parallel to the sporting activities.