|Laikipia Unity Football Academy, School and Environmental Education Centre
Internationally renowned footballer Samuel Eto’o, Patron of the Laikipia and Beyond Unity Cup (LUC), has committed to founding the Samuel Eto’o Laikipia Unity Football Academy, School and Environmental Education Centre at Endana Secondary School in Laikipia. The Eto'o Academy, which was launched on August 13th 2014, is the model school for the County, with its infrastructure based on a unique architectural design developed by PITCHAfrica that ensures the school is a high yield rainwater harvesting school. In addition to being the only football Academy in East Africa, the school also serves as the major demonstration and training site for rainwater harvesting, conservation agriculture and reafforestion. The Academy and secondary school incorporate an Environmental Education and Outreach Center and also serves as the headquarters for the Laikipia Unity League/LUC and the hub for environmental outreach activities.
As the originator of the architectural design concept, PITCHAfrica was the design implementer of the academy and the Zeitz Foundation managed the physical construction on site at Endana Secondary School.
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The school’s infrastructure includes: the Eto'o Academy building, which houses a stadium and 5 a-side football pitch, 4 classrooms, school administration rooms, the environmental education centre and the LUP office and headquarters; a girls dormitory for 100; a kitchen a dinning hall; two new ablutions blocks, a staff housing prototype, and an extension to the existing boys dormitory. All buildings have been constructed to harvest and store water in underground tanks. A total of approximately 2 million litres can be sustainably harvested annually. The environmental education and outreach centre showcases a variety of alternative energy, water and land management technologies and approaches, and a 5 acre conservation agriculture farm supports the school’s nutritional requirements, a tree nursery and a woodlot. The conservation agriculture plots demonstrate environmentally sustainable cultivation practices and drip irrigation systems, producing green vegetables and nutrients for the students and provide training opportunities for thousands throughout the region. By placing sustainably collected water at the heart of the school community, the Academy and Centre is a dynamic magnet and hub for sustainable community development; providing support to the Laikipia community in the areas of clean water, sport, education, health, food security, and peace building.
The Eto'o Academy provides facilities and training for up to 48 youngsters to up-grade their football and educational opportunities. It provides them with unique opportunities to reach their full potential and become world-class football players, establishing them as role models for other youth throughout Laikipia, Kenya and beyond. Students attending the Academy are selected through the League. Selections are not only based on football potential but also on achievements in social, environmental and cultural activities. The Academy has been integrated into the existing Endana Secondary School, and has seen the upgrading of educational facilities for approximately 400 students, girls and boys.
The academy opened its doors in February 2015 with its first intake of 12 students, and will increase this number with subsequent annual enrollments of 12 students for a maximum of 48.
The Samuel Eto’o Laikipia Unity Football Academy, School and Environmental Education Centre have been made possible through the generous support of the Samuel Eto'o Private Foundation, Cameron O'Reilly Family, Guernsey Overseas Aid, Segera Ranch, Ol Jogi and Ol Pejeta Conservancies.