One of the ways of bringing the youth together to make them act on an issue or fight for a cause is through sports. Sports have over time proven to be a point of convergence for youth where social, religious, cultural and economic differences among youth are not considered. No wonder sports is one of the strategies used by peace and conflict resolution practitioners to unite disputing communities and entrench peace.
The importance of sports in sustainable development has also been recognized by the United Nations thus: “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.”
Based on the above, this football tournament themed “The Makurdi Green Cup” has been initiated as a strategy to promote implementation of actions that will contribute to achieving environmental sustainability in Makurdi and Benue State at large. This will also go a long way in contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What the Makurdi Green Cup seeks to achieve is in line with several Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to which Nigeria is a signatory some of which include: Basel Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention to Combat Draught and Desertification, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) amongst others.
2.0 DESCRIPTION OF THE MAKURDI GREEN CUP FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
This football tournament targets all secondary schools (public and private) within Makurdi local government area of Benue state. Any secondary school can participate in this tournament by expressing interest to participate and picking an expression of interest form at an affordable fee of Five Thousand Naira Only (N5,000) for one category, and Seven Thousand Naira Only (N7,000) for two categories.
The football tournament team will send out a call for expression of interest stating the conditions to be met by the schools that will be interested to participate in the tournament. Announcements will be made on social media and on radio stations within the state. In addition, letters will be sent to schools announcing this tournament.
The conditions to be met by the schools to participate in this tournament are: i. interested schools must purchase expression of interest form and ii. must implement an environment project within or outside the school with the guidance of the football tournament team.
Schools can choose to implement any of the following environment projects:
- Planting of trees, flowers or other vegetation for the purpose of cooling the environment, beautifying the environment or controlling or preventing land degradation. This can be done within the school or in any needy community.
- Recycling, reduction and reuse of wastes – Schools can use plastic bags or bottles or any other waste that would have polluted the environment as raw materials to produce other products. Any initiative that will prevent or reduce generation of wastes by schools is welcomed.
- Clearing of dumpsites within schools or Makurdi town
- Awareness creation on sustainable environmental practices – Awareness creation must take place outside the school in a community. It must be a community that pollutes the environment either by indiscriminate dumping of refuse both on land or in water bodies or that defecate in the open. The awareness will aim to get the communities stop the practices that pollute or degrade the environment.
- Provision of handwashing facility and soap – Schools can provide handwashing facility and soap for their toilets or for other schools – that is if they don’t already have. This is to promote handwashing culture among school children.
The football tournament will commence after schools have implemented environment projects and only schools that implement these projects will be considered eligible to participate in this tournament. Match fixtures will be drawn only among schools that have met the two conditions of buying a form and implementing an environment project.
At the end of the tournament, the 5 best schools for the football competition will receive awards, while the rest will be given certificates of participation. Similarly, the 5 schools with the best environment projects will receive plaques of recognition for their projects. The criteria for assessing the environment projects will be – creativity and innovation of the project, impact or potential impact of project.
Categories of the tournament
This tournament will be played in two (2) categories:
- Male category
- Female category
Mixed schools may decide to feature both female and male football teams, while single sex schools will feature male or female football team depending on the sex of the school.
Match fixtures will be drawn up for both categories.
The following prizes will be won by the 5 best schools for each category of the football tournament:
1st position – Cash prize of N100,000 with 3 footballs
2nd position – Cash prize of N50,000 with 2 footballs
3rd position – Cash prize of N30,000 with 1 football
4th position – Cash prize of 10,000
5th position – Cash prize of 5,000
All participating schools – certificates of participation
Prizes for best 5 environment projects will be plaques of honour for the 5 best schools
3.0 GOAL AND OBJECTIVES OF THE MAKURDI GREEN CUP
- Goal: Contribute to addressing environmental challenges within Makurdi Benue state.
- To facilitate implementation of projects by secondary schools that will address environmental challenges within Makurdi town
- To promote the spirit of sports among youth in secondary schools within Makurdi
- To instill in the young people the culture of environmental sustainability
- EXPECTED RESULTS
- At least 20 different environmental projects implemented by secondary schools in Makurdi leading to improved environment and benefitting at least 10,000 people.
- Peaceful and harmonious co-existence among youth in secondary schools in Makurdi enhanced
- Culture of environmental protection and preservation instilled in at least 10,000 school children.
 United Nations. Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, A/RES/70/1. Declaration number 37.