in Southern AfricaSouth Africa

Gift Global Initiative powering up communities through Sport

JOHANNESBURG, (The Southern African Times) – A United States based NGO – Gift Global Initiative has launched another initiative named ‘Sports for Solar”’ with the core objective of bringing both public and private sectors together to blend sports with renewable energy.

In a statement, Gift Global’s Chairman Mr Keith Kirkwood said that they are aiming to eradicate fraud, abuse and make diplomacy fun effective and aspiring.

“When I say aspiring, I mean companies and countries see this program not just a humanitarian aid initiative but an effective branding tool. Sports for Solar is so powerful that it benefits all stakeholders included, maximising the impact. This initiative was birthed by Manna (C.E.O Gift Global) and I after we spent an afternoon in Soweto which is Nelson Mandela’s settlement. After observing the tough living conditions for the children in Soweto, Gift Global decided to take a massive step by introducing solar power to the community. Speaking to Chairman of Gift Global, Mr Kirkwood said that most families did not have lights and others got burnt while sleeping as a result of using candles and wood as their source of power. 

When choosing families to participate,  the charity works with different age groups.  There are 4000 families in Soweto and the event is held twice a year. It has expanded from four teams in the first year to eight in 2021 and sixteen in 2022. 

Our community volunteers keep track of children who take part in the event. These children train with their coaches throughout the year to become the ‘” Sports for Solar” champions. We see anywhere between 500-1000children participate in the events, from soccer to tennis,” said Kirkwood.

Gift Global also support people from other parts of the world since Sports for Solar is a world tour event that goes from one country to another. It uses sports to build peace and strengthen bonds between countries and private sectors.

The United Arab Emirates is the biggest partner for Global Gift in diplomacy initiatives such as Sports for Solar. The United Arab Emirates as a country has been leading the way in humanitarian aid initiatives but even more impressive is their Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Under the leadership of Ambassador Mahash Alhameli and First Secretary Fatima Al- Suwaidi, who are not just committed to strengthening the bond between the two countries but truly enjoy getting out in the community and being part of this initiative. 

“As far as challenges we face while putting together ‘’Sports for Solar’’, it can vary from the unstable political climate, extreme weather, war zones, language barriers, the pandemic to security concerns. 

The passion to keep moving forward so we can light as many homes as possible with solar light far exceeds any of the challenges we face. Manna and I did not quit our cushy jobs to be deterred by such challenges. 

Real humanitarian aid work is not glitzy and glamourous as projected. It is hard, long hours in extreme conditions, but all of it is worthwhile because the goal is to make life better for families with simple yet effective solutions,’’ said Kirkwood.

He also said that they have been able to achieve great success at delivering aid and other initiatives throughout the pandemic, largely due to a great team and everyone was committed to these programs.

“A good organisation knows how to tweak and adapt to changing forces. This is especially true of humanitarian organisations that largely depend on the generosity of donors and volunteers. Sports for Solar is the flagship diplomacy program for all socially conscious countries and joining the efforts will be visionary corporations and individuals. We have a great media partner who covers the events to make it exciting for brands and countries to know that the world is seeing the meaningful social impact work they are doing,’’ he said.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button