By Gabriel-Eddie Njoroge

The Africa Challenge Cup football tournament, taking place on 10th June at the Os Belenenses, Estadio do Restelo in Lisbon, Portugal , will be a major networking event for all participants of the Africa Energy Forum (aef) and will also be an avenue to raise funds for victims affected by Cyclone Idai.

EnergyNet, the organizers of aef, has already donated £20,000 to disaster relief efforts in Zimbabwe through the provision of 1,350 WakaWaka solar lanterns and Power+ Solar Charging Power Packs to support those completely cut off from energy, and who live in darkness after sunset as a result of the cyclone.

Over 1,000 people were killed and over one billion dollars’ worth of damage occurred to hospitals, farming, schools, housing and infrastructure making the storm the deadliest and costliest in the South-West Indian ocean in more than 100 years. A month since then, the impact of the cyclone is raising fears that a massive cholera epidemic could break out, with more than 4,000 registered cases and 7 fatalities already.

EnergyNet’s current donation alone will benefit over 5,000 individuals in frontline communities within two weeks of the investment being made. This is in collaboration with WakaWaka and the Miracle Mission Trust, an organization which facilitates sustainable transformation for Zimbabwean communities.

The founder of WakaWaka, Camille van Gestel commented, “When recovering from a disaster nothing is more frightening than to have to spend your evenings in utter darkness. Having light is a basic necessity, enabling people to pick up their lives also after sunset, to cook, work and do homework. WakaWaka can literally enlighten, perhaps even brighten the lives of people.”

The initiative is appealing for help to raise an additional £30,000 to reach, and even surpass,  £50,000 to invest in a further 2,500 units, which after eight hours of sunshine provides a sustainable light source for up to 40 hours. The Power+ can run a flashlight for up to 200 hours or charge a smartphone up to 1.5 times, enabled by a battery capacity of 3000 mAh.

A hundred percent of any money raised goes to disaster relief for the victims of Cyclone Idai since EnergyNet is full funding the hire of the stadium and KOHLER and Clarke energy are funding all the other cost-related elements of the tournament.

“In addition to funds already to committed, we hope to raise £50,000 annually through the tournament for important causes such as Cyclone Idai and we’ll work with our partners in any way necessary to make this possible. Conference companies must play a responsible role in the markets they serve, and we’re proud to lead the way. I hope the sector will support this initiative and make the ‘Africa Challenge Cup’ an equivalent to Soccer Aid for the continent,” EnergyNet’s Managing Director Simon Gosling said.

Attending the tournament will be free of charge, while additional funds can be raised through corporate sponsorship of any of the six individual teams which will go head to head in a bid to win the tournament. Quinton Fortune and Wes Brown of Manchester United will actively manage the teams on the day and participate in a medal ceremony for the winners. Goals will be aggregated and in the event of a draw after 90 minutes, a penalty shoot-out will take place.

“As Principal Partner of Manchester United, KOHLER is pleased to arrange for these football legends, Quinton Fortune and Wes Brown, to coach the participating teams and interact with event attendees,” said Hervé Prigent, Vice President of marketing for Kohler Power Systems. “This will be an enjoyable and beneficial way to begin the Africa Energy Forum as industry stakeholders from around the world all gather to celebrate our many shared passions, Power, energy, infrastructure, and of course, football.

Alex Marshall, Group Marketing and Compliance Director of Clarke Energy, a partner of the 2019 initiative said, “Clarke Energy has worked with aef for a number of years, being the key event targeting the power sector in Africa. A partnership between aef, Kohler, Clarke Energy, Kohler – SDMO has been formed to not only provide a football tournament, but to raise awareness and funds for a worthy African cause.”