Mathare Football for Hope Center

The Mathare Football for Hope centre unifies the Mathare Youth Sports Association’s campus and uses football to bring together a community.


News: The Centre is Opened!

The Mathare Football for Hope Center, completed in 2010, unifies the group of buildings that make up the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) campus. Constructed as part of FIFA’s 20 Centers for 2010 campaign, the Football for Hope Center brings together public health, education and football to increase awareness and education for African youth in disadvantaged areas. For over 25 years, MYSA, run by the youth for the youth, has empowered African youth to develop healthy lifestyles and to become engaged citizens and stewards of environmental preservation.

The functional, sustainable, and cost effective Football for Hope Center provides MYSA with a community space for gatherings, education, community service, sports, and leadership development. The new campus includes a central commons anchored by the Football for Hope tower, a covered outdoor classroom with stepped seating that overlooks the football field, and a community center with multifunctional rooms, counseling rooms, and an internet café. The orientation, lighting, ventilation, temperature control, materials, and water management system were designed to minimize energy requirements and environmental impact of the building during its construction phase and lifetime. The contrasting neutral stone façade and brightly colored interior reflects the natural resources of the Kenyan landscape and the vibrancy of Kenyan culture. The flat roof will allow safe and easy future expansion without the need to encroach on surrounding land. The Mathare Football for Hope Center provides youth with a place to develop the self-esteem they need to lead their communities into a brighter future.

Outcomes of the project so far:

  • 150 kids accessing the centre each week
  • 200 girls recruited for football league at the centre
  • 6 youth trained as HIV testing and counselling counselors
  • 579 Male and 478 Female counseled and tested on HIV/AIDS
  • 120 boys and 108 girls recruited to the library program
  • 59 youth trained on entrepreneurship and basic computer training
  • Generating income from the centre

Host Organization:

Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) – Football based programs since 1987, Network member since 2002


Linking Sports, Community Leadership and Sustainable Development in Africa by: Creating opportunities for physical, personal and community development; Empowering young people and building their self-esteem; Empowering young people to become responsible citizens and environmental preservation experts.

About the Centre Host:

One of the leading organisations within the Development through Football community, MYSA celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006. For the past two decades, the Nairobi-based organisation has grown to include 60 staff members and over 7,000 volunteers. MYSA is making great strides toward helping youths become responsible citizens and develop healthy bodies and spirits. Activities of the organisation include providing training and organizing tournaments within the 16 most deprived slums of Nairobi. Youths are involved in leadership training, environmental cleanups, HIV/AIDS awareness programmes, and other community service activities.

In cooperation with participating schools, MYSA has also devised special curriculum for training teachers who are encouraged to incorporate the organisation’s positive message and methods into their school’s agenda. The organisation involves approximately 20,000 young people, of which over 14,000 youths are currently participating in the football programme. MYSA participated at the streetfootballworld festival 06 in Berlin, Germany, and was crowned Street Football World Champion!

Design: Studio 610

Studio 610’s is very excited to be involved with the 20 Centers for 2010 campaign. It is our goal to provide a space that is functional, sustainable, cost effective, and that will become a beacon where the community can come together.

The MYSA campus is a large group of buildings with multiple scales and functions. The new Football For Hope Centre will bring all of the structures and spaces together to allow for a central meeting space and community center.

Our design inspiration was to provide a central commons area focused on the existing MYSA sculpture,and anchoring it with the FFH Tower. Next to the commons is a covered outdoor classroom with stepped seating that overlooks the new small sided football pitch. Both of these spaces sit adjacent to the main community center building.

The community center building is a durable and versatile structure that will house many of the centers activities. The primary structure is formed by local stone masonry with zero jointing. The stone is kept a natural color symbolizing the nature of Kenya and the interior walls are painted bright colors to symbolize the heart and vibrancy of the Kenyan culture. During the day, and especially at night, the color will radiate from the interior through the large glass walls glowing like a multicolored lantern. The building’s flat roof is an ideal location for solar panels and will allow for easy rainwater collection.

In addition, the reinforced roof will be the perfect location for future expansion without taking up the valuable land within the community. The interior of the building has been design for maximum flexibility with multifunction room that have large glass folding doors which, when open, can combine the interior space with the exterior. The large multifunctional space can be divided easily to provide more appropriate sized rooms for smaller groups. The hall links the counseling rooms and cyber cafe to the multifunction room, and also creates a buffer of space to help with privacy. The door at the end of the hall leads to the small sided soccer pitch which will provide easy access from the pitch to the medical room.

The two containers from Greenfields are used for the construction of the tower, or modified and incorporated alongside the football pitch in a ‘dugout’ style as a partially open shaded structure for teams to gather, change, and use as storage.

Sustainable Features:

  • Stones are hand cut from the quarries around Nairobi, low embodied energy. Since no external plastering is required and zero-jointing construction technique will be used on the exterior walls, less mortar will be required during construction
  • Low cost devices – Low energy light bulbs to save on energy
  • Landscape – The block pavers allow for drainage of rainwater into the ground
  • Rain water collection – the design features a flat RC slab with a gradual slope so as to channel rainwater towards drainage pipes installed in the columns, which could be either connected to any future rainwater harvesting tank or connected to the irrigation system
  • Ventilation – A high degree of natural ventilation is allowed in the building to avoid the use of air conditioning
  • Natural cooling – The shading structure at the northern end of the building will help with shading the building and add to the natural cooling. The structure will create some air circulation for cooling the seating/step and plaza area, along with bringing a breeze into the building thus the cooling effect
  • Natural daylight – The use of large glazed openings allows for maximum use of natural daylight which in turn ensures a low use of artificial light
  • Window Location in Wall – All the windows are set back into the stone wall to provide shelter and shade from the sun during the hottest part of the day
  • Recycling – the shipping container used for transporting Greenfields turf to site will be reused as the tower element
  • Construction waste – the Contractor is committed to separate waste on site and re-cycle where possible
  • Orientation – The building is positioned to get optimal daylight at all times. Glazing towards north is shaded to prevent overheating
  • Artificial Turf from GreenFields – Artificial turf is used for the football pitch, which will lower maintenance cost, save water, and is 100% recyclable. Also, providing a safe, level, and clean surface for people to play on

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


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