Article Index


World Oceans Day Celebration in Senegal - 2015 Edition
The soccer "Ocean Tournament” and beach clean-up: We honour the Bay of Hann

The Mundus maris team in Senegal

The Bay of Hann, formerly considered one of the most beautiful in the world is today so polluted that it worries many. This pollution affects not only the water of the Bay but also results in amounts of garbage piling up along the entire coastline. Responsibilities are laid at the doorsteps of different actors and factors. First, we have seen an urbanisation of the city of Dakar and its peri-urban neighbourhoods. This phenomenon has led to population increase and resulted in pipes dumping household waste into the bay. Second, all industries in Greater Dakar and its suburbs discharge their waste into the bay. Household waste and industrial discharge are transported to the Bay of Hann through channels called Canal 6 and Canal 6a respectively. The two drainage channels were built by French settlers originally with one objective: evacuate the rain water from the agglomeration of Dakar to Hann Bay. The local population, with a significant demographic growth in a very small space, is adding to the problem by dumping their own garbage because the municipal authorities do not have a collection system in place.

The pollution of the Bay has reached such a level that one of our partners, in this case the pupils of the Khadim Primary School in Hann produced a sketch entitled: “Hann Bay, our sick neighbour”. Incidentally, the school won a Shark Prize in the international contest for Mundus maris Awards 2015 for their dream story about a clean Hann Bay.

It is in this context that the young people of Hann fishing community, together with Mundus maris, dedicated the celebration of the 2015 edition to awareness creation through sport, followed by a beach clean up on 8 June. The aim was to awaken a collective awareness regarding the accelerated state of degradation of this environment.

As mass sport has nowadays still a tangible capacity to mobilise people, and particularly youths, football was chosen. This decision was taken consensually with the protagonists (associations, specialised soccer training schools in the community of Hann). Mundus maris and partners have also decided to insert the tournament into the annual calendar as from 2015 and named it "Ocean Tournament".

The tournament began in May and took place over a period of around one month. The matches took place effectively over two weeks, with the finals on 7 June. The Ocean Tournament involved several categories: Junior, Cadet and Pupil (small children) of the 8 foot ball training schools in the community of Hann Pêcheurs and two peripheral neighborhoods of this town. In fact, our local partners we have also suggested to involve, in addition to young people of the coast, those of Hann Village and the Marist district, as they collaborate with football training centers with native coaches from these communities for a greater impact.

The desire to systematise the partnership between Mundus maris and local actors for celebrating World Oceans Day in each edition, resulted in the establishment, in 2015, of an organising committee after several preparatory meetings. That committee is composed of Moustapha Mbaye, young volunteer with MM who represents us there, Babacar Ciss called Gabou, dean of the local coaches, Alassane Diallo, in charge of com for tournament purposes, and one representative of each of the 8 football training centers.

The partnership between these local actors and MM developed satisfactorily since each party has played its partition. Mundus maris covered all costs related to the acquisition of the various trophies and awards (balls, cups), including those introduced for the first time in this context, such as gold and silver-plated medals and trophies specially designed for the best referee and scorer, etc ... For the less than 13 year-olds other rewards were added (school materials for drawing and painting). 

MM has also given support to cover expenses related to the rental of tarpaulins, sound installations and two banners, not to mention the compensation for the griot Birane Samb, who has tirelessly invested his time and skills for the success for the preparation and entire duration of this event. He has not only promoted the 2015 edition but also acted as a key commentator during the playoffs and finals.

Our partners along the coast made great contributions, which would be difficult to quantify purely in financial terms. Indeed, with a tournament that arouses so much interest and involved 8 training schools, we had to think of everything, including, inter alia: the draws, the recruitment of a professional referee from the Department of Pikine who is recognised by the relevant football authorities, the establishment of a security service for the crowds, the programme of the competition from the first games to the final not to mention the educational dimension about the ocean. The members of the organising committee worked on a voluntary basis devoting their time and skills on the sets of activities.

The Ocean Tournament: Its contribution for the celebration of 8 June

The tournament now called "Ocean Tournament" is designed to stay. The playoffs took place on at least three different terrains: Soccer Field Tool Bi, Maracana Field and the municipal Plot in the Marist district, with finals in all categories on June 7 at Field Tool Bi. The contribution of the tournament to World Oceans Day was made palpable in two ways. First, for at least two weeks, the time of the playoffs, a constant message was disseminated: Let's mobilise for safeguarding Hann Bay when celebrating World Oceans Day, 8 June 2015, by participating in cleaning the beach of the Bay. This was the message the griot Birane Samb, now called "griot of the Ocean", has passed at all games. Given the number of games played in the playoffs, we can say without exaggeration that more than 450 young people have heard this message.

Far from doing just an isolated activity, the soccer tournament was initiated this year with longer-term ambitions. First, starting with the 2015 edition, we aim at doing more communication on a broader scale about the merits of World Oceans Day. We do that with more focus on the theme of the Bay whose polluted state is no longer sustainable. Then, there is the desire to motivate players in the sports world to serve as opinion leaders so that they can incorporate issues related to pollution in the Bay. The mere fact of having it designated as "Ocean Tournament" clearly shows the concern to operate now in this context. Indeed, we do not want to confine ourselves to the event today, to forget the next day(s). The rehabilitation of the Bay requires a mobilisation of the population, especially the younger generation, whose future is threatened by such a polluted environment, so much so that bathing is prohibited in many places. The initiatives taken in favour of the Bay take various forms: the “interception” of elected officials in charge of the environment, outreach to residents to persuade them to be more respectful of their environment, etc.

The griot, who was one of the main communicators of this edition, was also charged to pass this key message in a few targeted areas as public announcer, weaving it into the advertisment for the tournament.

The finals and awards in all categories

The final of the cadet category was won by the training center called Mame Rokhaya, led by Mr Pape Diouf, its coach. The other finalist was School-Foot Mountain 6. Aliou Sall, Vice President of Mundus maris handed the awards to the finalists: for Mame Rokhaya a trophy and a soccer ball, and for Mountain 6 several balls.

The final of juniors was also won by the center Mame Rokhaya against the training center called "School Football". The awards offered by Mundus maris for the final were presented by several invited people. The winner received a trophy, a ball and gold plated medals, while the second received silver plated medals and a ball.

On the occasion of this final, other quite original tokens for community sports were also awarded:

  • A trophy specially designed to recognise the arbiters;

  • A trophy designed to honour the top scorer of the less than 13-14 year-olds;

  • A small batch of school supplies for the two best jugglers, who also had a performance for this major event to celebrate the oceans in this fishing village.

World Oceans Day itself, June 8, was dedicated to cleaning the beach of the Bay

Volunteers to clean the Bay were soccer practitioners, reinforced by associations from the following neighborhoods: Hann Mountain (Montagne), Hann Beach and the floating neighborhood SOTIBA. A total of four soccer associations and four schools participated actively in the 8th June activities: cleaning the Bay, followed by Beach Soccer tournament. In view the size of the beach to be cleaned and the effort required to oversee all this, we entrusted the monitoring and coordination of this activity to two volunteers, Moustapha Mbaye, young volunteer member of the local Mundus maris team, and Alassane Diallo, in charge of communication of the soccer schools and contact for all schools.

Like for the Ocean Tournament, different awards were offered by Mundus maris: cups for the most embellished district, for the winning team of beach soccer, food and cash envelopes just days before the start of Ramadan. The commitment of young people from riparian neighborhoods made them pool their efforts to clean the beach with whatever equipment (shovels, rakes, etc.) they could borrow from any person who had a tool that can contribute to the beautification of the Bay. The waste collected during this operation was conveyed to the discharge of the urban community, using whatever means were available. Around 225 young people participated in this operation in different parts of the Bay.

The strategy adopted collegially within the organising committee was educationally effective. This was to show how important it is to help maintain the beaches clean - in this case Hann Bay - for our well-being. Providing youth, deprived of leisure space, the ability to practice beach soccer was much appreciated.

The cleaning operation started at 9am and ended around 13:00. And it was only after making this human investment, the tournament was held from 14h to 18h30.

Here are the winners of the Mundus maris Awards in the local celebrations:

  • Trophy to the most embellished neighbourhood: the youth of Hann Magasin district
  • Trophy to the winner of beach soccer tournament for juniors School football
  • Cash envelope of 25,000 FCFA: the best scorer of the Beach Soccer
  • Cash envelope of 15,000 FCFA: the second best scorer of the Beach Soccer
  • Set of sugar and milk packets to various representatives of the 8 participating beach soccer schools (four soccer schools and four neighborhood associations in total who participated in the demonstration on June 8).

Let's keep the beach clean throughout the year and strive for a general clean-up to restore Hann Bay to its former glory.

Fotos by Aliou Sall and team.