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More than 2,000 youth Play for the Planet in Nairobi



Nairobi, 20 November 2009 - As the whole planet starts gearing up to the World Cup in South Africa, more than 2,000 youth will gather in Nairobi to Play for the Planet from 21 November to 6 December.

The 'Play for the Planet: Play for Peace' competition, now in its second year, is organized by non-profit organization Mavuno Michezo with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Olympic Committee and Bayer East Africa.

It will bring together youth aged 14 to 18 from across Nairobi for a series of football games and environmental activities.

A total of 64 teams, eight from each constituency in Nairobi, will take part in the competition which will run on three consecutive weekends from 21 November to 6 December. Eight female teams - one per constituency - will also participate in the finals of the competition on 6 December. Winners will be awarded with trophies, medals and football kits.

The 'Play for the Planet: Play for Peace' initiative, first organized in June 2008, aims to use the power of sport to promote peace and reconciliation among Kenyans. It also provides a positive environment for interaction for young people who are one of the groups that are the most affected by hardship, violence, social tensions and other challenges in society.

It is hoped that by providing an opportunity for young people from various ethnic communities to participate in team activities, the initiative will help promote social cohesion and peace. It will also provide a platform for young people, particularly those on school break, to engage in constructive activities.

Through t-shirts and other materials, peace building and environmental messages will be conveyed to the youth as well as to the general public. The participants will also participate in tree planting and other environmental clean-up activities in their communities.

In June 2008, a few months after the post-election conflict that rocked Kenya, the first edition of the 'Play for the Planet' initiative brought together more than 300 children and youth for a three-month series of school and community activities on peace and reconciliation that culminated in World Peace Day on 21 September.

The matches in the constituencies will take place at the following locations: Starehe Constituency - Huruma Flats; Embakasi Constituency - Dandora Tom Mboya, Makadara Constituency - Makongeni; Dagoretti Constituency - Kawangware Primary; Lang'ata Constituency - Lang'ata High School; Kamukunji Constituency - Shauri Moyo; Kasarani Constituency - (TBC); Westlands Contituency - Hospital Hill. The venue for the grand finale on 6 December will be announced later.

UNEP, Sport and the Environment

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