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Besongabang Football For Hope Centre

Building Occupancy / Site Capacity: 

The Besongabang Football for Hope Centre embraces the region's vernacular to create a meeting and athletic center for the entire community.

The center is finally complete! The official opening was held on the 21st of March 2014, it was a beautiful ceremony, celebrating the last 3 years of hard work. United Action for Children just moved in the new building and is starting their activities.

Host Organization:
United Action for Children
Football based programs since 2002, Network member since 2005

To use football as a tool to promote cooperation, unity, peace, responsibility and tolerance among young people.

About the Centre Host:
United Action for Children (UAC) has been working with orphans, street and other vulnerable children for the last five years. UAC uses football's popularity to get young people off the streets and into classrooms and training centers. Through inter-quarterly and holiday football tournaments, the project provides HIV/AIDS awareness while trying to tackle poverty, youth unemployment/child labour and inter-tribal conflicts in the respective region. The participating youths have the opportunity to take part in innovative programs including the provision of basic education and vocational training in woodwork, painting and IT as well as workshops on HIV/AIDS education, sports and disability issues. Through these programs, the streetfootballworld network member (since 2005) strives to create a caring society and environment for children and young people in Cameroon.

Nathan Jones

As noted in UAC’s Mission Statement football will be used as a tool for promoting peace, the proposed FFH center is orientated to provide optimal viewing for young people to witness the benefits of co-operation and the many lessons in team sports. Additionally there is a close-relationship between the pitch and the 85m2 classroom so theoretic ideas are never far from team games and team games is never far from the theory.

The centre will act as a forum in terms of being a public meeting place. A place where people meet to share ideas to facilitate the centre hosts vision of health and education development. The meeting place concept was strengthened by several design strategies. A sense of familiarity is created by referencing familiar elements of the Cameroonian environment. The centre will feel as though it belongs to the area, so in turn people feel the centre belongs to them.

Vernacular meeting places in Cameroon due to climatic conditions are typically outside, these translate into architecture as verandas or other canopy structures, with ventilation and shade in the hot and humid summer months and shelter in the torrential downpours of the rainy season. The scale of the veranda reflects the public nature of the building.

The Football for Hope centre is situated in the rainforest region of Cameroon and the site itself is flanked by forest regrowth and a palm plantation. With the before mentioned requirement for a shade/shelter canopy, inspiration was found on site….trees!!! Trees an elegant structure with; a single foundation point, a single principle structural element (the trunk) and a very large shaded/sheltered area all using minimum materials. This readily translated into a buildable structure with practical, economic and aesthetic benefits, whilst echoing the beauty of the site and the region.

Doors of all public rooms open onto the forum increasing the possibility of meeting people. This also greatly reduces interior circulation space. In a country where corruption is an unfortunate part of daily life UAC collaborated of the idea of an open air reception to promote transparency and better serve the community. A young person can access the centre directly from the entrance road to the front of the reception person’s desk on a simple straight road.

Sustainable Features:

The consideration of ‘sustainability’ encompasses Environmental, social and economic sustainability, as all three are linked all were considered holistically.

An important foreword is not all the issues of sustainability can be addressed by solely technical means, thus the building communicates an admiration of nature not only by using as appropriate natural materials but also through bio-mimicry.

‘Long life, low energy and loose fit’ were some of the design principle the center used, loose fit meaning flexibility. The center is a simple frame structure; with as large a span as practical can be readily adapted for various uses in the future. Frame structures are also appropriate to the climate as maximizing ventilation and light and reducing building energy demands.

The building is a hybrid of materials each chosen for a balance of Environmental, social and economic sustainability, but the material must be able to perform in an environment with seismic activity, a rainforest climate and where the limited money used for maintenance could be used by UAC for their operations. The two main materials are timber and concrete. Concrete made in Cameroon by the Cameroonian Goverment Cimencam will be used. Concrete is used for a water impervious foundation and timber for the roof, both being appropriate choices in a seismically active rainforest region. No glass is used/needed. Timber is used as much as possible. Locally sourced sustainable timber was specified from the outset, this however was unavailable and so local timber which is positive for the local socio-economic sustainability will be sourced and there will be onsite mitigation with tree planting.

Composting toilets will be used not just to teach young people in Nature there’s no waste, but also to fertilize the agricultural activities on site.

Bird boxes will be designed and built by local school children with the intention to increase site bio-diversity, provide educational opportunities and will be incorporated into the center complex.

The building has been design to be passively lit during the day and passively ventilated with 175m2 of openings. Due to an uncertain Municipal Energy supply, Cameroon Football For Hope Centre has been designed with the capability to function off grid for 6 hours, however human behavior will be critical in determining if the center will have sufficient power to operate equipment from the available Photovoltaic panels, so a ‘building use pamphlet’ will be produced to educate users is energy conservation.

About the Football for Hope Campaign:

“20 Centres for 2010” is the Official Campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Its aim is to raise funds to create twenty Football for Hope Centres for public health, education, and football across Africa. The centres will address local social challenges in disadvantaged areas and improve education and health services for young people.

Back to Football for Hope program overview




Project Details

NAME: Besongabang Football For Hope Centre
PROJECT LEAD: Football for Hope
LOCATION: Besongabang, Cameroon
START DATE: August 26, 2011
CURRENT PHASE: Technical/Construction Design
COST: $222618 USD (Final)
SIZE: 180 sq. m
PROJECT TYPE: Youth Center, Stadium/Sports Facility, Residential – Mixed Development, Public Space/Gathering Space, Office Space, Landscapes/Parks/Outdoor Spaces, Education Facility - Training Center, Education Facility - Secondary School, Education Facility - Primary School, Community Center
ARCHITECT OF RECORD: Ebua Mvo, Divine Construction and Architectural Design
DESIGN FELLOW: Nathan Jones, Rogerio Costa
DESIGNER: Nathan Jones
PROJECT PARTNER: streetfootballworld
PROJECT PARTNER: Architecture for Humanity
CONTRACTOR(S): Vision International
BENEFICIARIES: Young people in Manyu region; by provision of additional educational, recreational, health related facilities and career counseling. Families; though Counseling and health talks. Wider society; as the vocation nature of Center will enable young people to better contribute to wider society.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Every opportunity given the budget, schedule and requirements sustainable option will be pursued and implemented