Select language

Finalist World Award - Category Youth

Submitted by: Toledo Institute for Development and Environment
Country: Belize

Freshwater Cup Environmental Football Tournament

Based in the Toledo district of Belize, the Freshwater Cup is an annual football tournament with a difference - to participate, each team of 18 school children (ages 10-12) must plan and execute an environmental project in their community. Through the football tournament and the projects, the young participants develop important life skills and values, such as teamwork, planning, respect for others, self-esteem, civic pride, and commitment to the environment. School teams design and implement environmental mini-projects that protect freshwater resources and the coral reef downstream, and address an identified need in their community.
Since the project began in 2004, over 3,000 people have undertaken over 150 mini-projects, resulting in more than 6,500 trees planted along waterways, 33,000 lb of trash removed, 15 green spaces or organic gardens created, numerous environmental murals painted, two illegal dumpsites removed, and over 3,000 people receiving environmental education from their peers. After implementing the project, teams participate in a football tournament with surrounding schools (21 in total). Trophies are given for the top environmental projects and to the football winners. All participants receive school supplies, with more than 2,500 children having benefitted so far.
The Freshwater Cup was the first football competition in the district open to females and has given over 1,000 girls the opportunity to compete. The approach of the project is to put children at the center of attention and unleash their potential as agents of change. Through the environmental projects, children put their ideas into effect and learn what can be accomplished when we work together. The project has brought about a widespread shift in the way the younger generation thinks about the environment and has empowered many individuals in numerous ways, from girls taking up sports, and young athletes going on to play for the national team, to children turning around their academic performance, or founding environmental clubs.


  • Project: Students awareness and motivation campaign
    Applicant: EduVision Foundation
    Country: Nepal

  • Project: Freshwater Cup Environmental Football Tournament
    Applicant: Toledo Institute for Development and Environment
    Country: Belize

  • Project: The Future Conservationist and Farmers Program
    Applicant: The Smallholders Foundation
    Country: Nigeria

string(6) "Belize"