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Tackling deforestation with football

Our partners at CCREAD (the Centre for Community Regeneration and Development) in Cameroon continue to build a foundation for climate action with a focus on joy and wellbeing.


Why wellbeing?

Happiness makes for a solid foundation for us all. An optimistic mindset and good mental and physical health are powerful tools for change. The wider climate action narrative often fails to communicate the importance of wellbeing in rainforest protection, but we are committed to sharing more of our work that does just that.

Indigenous peoples and rainforest communities are already bearing the brunt of climate breakdown alongside a slew of social, political, and financial pressures. A focus on wellbeing can pack a climate-shaped punch by strengthening both resilience and resolve within communities.

Enhanced wellbeing combined with sustainable business mentorship, food security projects and rainforest-protecting infrastructure (like solar power and health centres) makes for a heady mix of climate action.

One way of increasing wellbeing is through sport.

Five football players sit on the side lines of a grassy football pitch, they look onto the pitch watching other players are in the midst of a football game. Green forest surrounds the pitch and continues into the distance.

Creating joy through the beautiful game.

In Cameroon, football is by far the most popular sport and through this, CCREAD saw an opportunity to solve a problem. Their rainforest conservation programme Rise for Nature is consistently over-subscribed and because of this demand, they aimed to engage communities at scale and inspire action in young people outside of the programme.

To do so, CCREAD channelled the joy of football to great effect when they brought 5,000 people from 25 communities together for a cross-community tournament last year.

Balls to deforestation: can football really lead to the protection of rainforest?

It just might. When people come together and share experiences (be it a final minute goal, or a meaningful discussion pitchside) great things can happen.

Sounds great, but what’s the connection between forest and football? The tournament created a space for discussion about CCREAD’s conservation work without fear or finger-pointing and, like at any sporting fixture, new conversations were had and connections made. Two of the starting blocks of climate action.

“Thousands of families have been reached, rainforests communities have seen transformative power of solar electrification, families have experienced the exponential relevance of agroforestry and the effortlessness of using agricultural trainings and equipment to increase income and yields”

– Dr Hilary Ewang Ngide, CCREAD founder.


A portrait shot of 13 football plays in the midst of a game. The grassy pitch is muddy in patches, at the edges of the pitch a small audience stands to watch. The pitch is surrounded by lush green forest.

Be it sport, ceremony or cultural practice, shared experiences give people living in rainforest joy, and when this happens, we all win.

Want to find your own joy in climate action?


This September we are launching our first ever physical fundraiser, Race for Rainforest, and dare we say it, it’s the coolest fundraiser ever.


👉  Get involved here.