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‘People-powered’ Malawi soccer field aids community, generates income for ministry

“Soccer is king in Africa,” says CMF team member Eric Gephart, and it’s hard to go too far in a conversation in Malawi, where he serves, without the subject making an appearance. So, Namikango Mission has launched a project that will use this passion to generate income for the Mission while providing a much-needed service for the community.

The number of available soccer fields that are available for league play in Malawi is very limited, causing teams to scramble to book fields and creating general mayhem as other teams are forced to play on less-than-ideal fields. The team at Namikango Mission decided to level and clear a soccer field-sized area of the campus to develop a good field for local teams to rent and use.

“We saw that this would be good for the local community and be an income-generating business for Namikango,” said Eric. “Because the piece of ground that was selected was a sharply sloped forest, a lot of work needed to be done to clear the forest and level the ground.”

Heavy machinery that would have been helpful in doing these major tasks was either unavailable or outrageously expensive, so Namikango employed a team of workers who, with simple shovels, axes and human muscle, cleared the forest, de-stumped the ground, and laboriously leveled out a full-size soccer field!

“This impressive feat never ceased to amaze us,” said Eric. “As the finishing touches are being added to the field, the workers are erecting a fence around the perimeter and will seed the entire field for grass right before the rainy season. This is one project where people power has triumphed over machines!”

Eric, Gephart, Malawi, Namikango Mission, soccer