Project will offer soccer and film skills

Johannesburg A project that will show World Cup soccer matches on a giant outdoor screen in the rural Kenyan town of Kilifi is hoping to use the event as a way to teach villagers how to share their stories on the bigscreen.

“It isn’t just about showing World Cup games, (it’s about) using the power of soccer for social change and development,” says Harshad Mistry, founder of project organizer Field of Dreams Africa.

With the help of Google, which has provided financial and technical support, a mobile Internet classroom will be used to teach Web skills and rudimentary filmmaking techniques to residents, as well as to spread health education.

“This will not only be about children and adults accessing the Web, but also (about) encouraging them to create and share their stories,” says Mistry, a Brit who created and produced BBC miniseries “Ten Days to War,” which starred Kenneth Branagh. “We’ll show them how to take pictures, shoot and edit simple videos on flip cameras, and put the content on the bigscreen in the evenings before the games.”

The project kicked off June 10 and will continue throughout the tournament, which ends July 11.

Mistry says organizers are focused on making a lasting impact. “The legacy of the project would be to train local people to use the screening equipment,” he says, “and to create content so we can leave the equipment with them.”

Organizers also have been working with a community organization, Moving the Goalposts, which uses soccer as an empowerment tool for local girls and women.

Field of Dreams Africa will work with local development partners to communicate a message centering on health and education. “It’s a case of believing,” Mistry says. “If you build it, they will come.”

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