Playing Soccer for maternal health

News article 23 Mar 2017
Mamas United team photo

On 5th March 2017, LSTM joined the Maternity Foundation in playing soccer at the Global Goals World Cup tournament in Nairobi, Kenya as part of the Mamas United team.

The team was formed by Maternity Foundation and UNFPA to raise awareness about Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3), and specifically maternal health.

The Mamas United Team, who played with fake baby bump costumes, elicited a lot of interest by the media and personalities present at the event. They comprised of midwives and doctors from the Maternity Foundation, LSTM, Kenya’s Ministry of Health, Nursing Council of Kenya, Moi University, Midwives Association of Kenya, Amref Health Africa in Kenya and Kenyatta National Hospital.

Judith Maua Ong’ayi, Senior Technical Officer at LSTM Kenya, said ‘I’m passionate about making it happen for mothers and babies through training and research to ensure, availability and quality healthcare for women and babies. It was a proud and memorable moment for me being part of such a monumental, Global Goals World Cup tournament in Nairobi, the first global goals Cup on African soil! Playing as part of the wonderful Mamas United and playing to raise awareness about SDG 3, and maternal health. We played against the best team!”

The Global Goals World Cup, which began in Copenhagen in 2016, is played as tribute to the power of sport to change the world. A different set of rules govern the football matches, where points are awarded for both scoring goals and working for the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Partners for Global Goals World Cup in Kenya were the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNDP, Safaricom, Save the Children and Eir Soccer. “The idea behind Global Goals World Cup is to harness the power of sport to excite and unite, and direct that power towards reaching the Global Goals. We need to cheer for the SDG frontrunners and activists as we would for our favorite football team, because it is the last minutes of overtime in the final for all of us, if we are to succeed with the Goals”, says GGWCup co-founder Rikke Rønholt Albertsen.

The occasion was graced by the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs, who opened the tournament and Sicily K. Kariuki, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Public service, Youth and Gender Affairs. Celebrities who were present as referees included; Danish actor and UNDP ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ugandan peace activist Victor Ochen and African television personality Julie Gichuru.

The tournament was won by young players from Moving the Goalpost team who will be invited to play in the finals in New York September 2017. Next year, 2018, the tournament will take place in four global regions; Africa, Europe, North America and Middle East and North Africa, adding more regions of the world in 2018.