The Freshwater Cup was started in 2005 as a project aimed at young adults that combines sport and environmental education. In 2007, the project was expanded to include primary school children who are now the main focus. The tournament itself is a football tournament but in order to participate, the children must undertake an environmental project that is specific to protecting freshwater resources or reducing the effects of climate change on human populations.
Projects that have been undertaken have included starting recycling programs, creating green spaces in schools and communities and planting trees. Other activities have involved being engaged in clean-ups of rivers and streams, creating eco-parks and environmental clubs and the management of solid waste.
The tournament not only teaches the children and their communities about the environment, but it also fosters teamwork, empowering the children by making them realise what can be achieved through working together. It also promotes gender equality by encouraging both girls and boys to take part.
Excitingly, the Freshwater Cup is now an award-winning project. 2012 was an Olympic year and TIDE were honoured by the International Olympic Committee with the Sport and Sustainable Development Trophy to celebrate the integration of sport and sustainable development.
The Freshwater Cup also previously won the Kellog Foundation's Experiences in Social Innovation award in 2008. Due to its success in Belize, we have been invited to share the program in several other countries including Guatemala and Haiti.