Inflatable football screens hit Kenya

These inflatable screens draw audiences of 500-1,000 people across Kifili district
Image caption The idea is to bring live World Cup matches to remote African communities with satellite and projection equipment

As the World Cup rolls into its final stages, the greatest sporting spectacle that Africa has hosted will soon be over, but how many people across the continent were able to even see the matches?

Throughout the tournament, the Kenya Field of Dreams project - with the help of a giant inflatable outdoor TV screen - has been showing World Cup matches in the remotest of Kenyan communities, including areas without televisions or even electricity.

"We've got a rear projection screen that is about 4.5 metres wide and about 3.5 metres tall," explained volunteer Alex Goodey.

"It's suspended in an inflatable frame which is made from the same material as a bouncy castle.

"There's a blower at the back which is powered by a generator and it takes about a minute to inflate to full capacity. It's quite impressive when it goes up."

With funding from Google and UKSport International Development, the project has been taking the screens across Kilifi, a district about two hours north of Mombasa.

There, it works in collaboration with a local sports charity Moving the Goalposts, which aims to empower young women and girls through football.

Learning to set up screenings is just one of the many ways the organisation is trying to teach girls skills for the future.

"It isn't just about showing World Cup games, (it's about) using the power of football for social change and development," says Harshad Mistry, a project lead at Kenya Field of Dreams.

"The legacy of the project would be to train local people to use the screening equipment and to create content so we can leave the equipment with them."

Image caption The Goalposts girls are at the centre of Kilifi's footballing frenzy

Long-term goal

Peris Mwaka, a Moving the Goalposts volunteer in Matsangoni village, found the early days of the project quite daunting - especially as she had no previous technical experience.

"On my first day I couldn't set the screen on my own. I didn't know what to do. But as time goes by we're getting lots of practice and now I can do it easily."

She says the local residents were open and receptive to the project's aims.

"I talked to some of the spectators and they told us the screen is so big that you can see it as far away as one kilometre. And it's free. The people here are very appreciative. They don't want us to leave."

For the newly techno-savvy Peris, the World Cup is just the beginning.

"We have equipment that will be very useful to this community. There are many things that we can show on the big screens - films that can educate people on drug abuse, sexual health and abortion.

"It will be useful even when the World Cup ends."

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