A ball is all you need to enjoy a game of football, and the sport is hugely popular in Africa. But on a continent where the rate of TV ownership stands at around 20 percent in many countries, plenty of people cannot watch matches on television, never mind getting to the stadiums. That's why Sony is "Public Viewing in Africa" during the June/July tournament in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project is designed to make sure Africans extract the maximum enjoyment from the first FIFA World Cup™ to be held on their continent.
The project ran in Cameroon and Ghana. In both countries low penetration of TVs mean that in most regions it's a challenge for Cameroonians and Ghanaians to support their own national team. Sony employees teamed up with UNDP, JICA and local NGOs and our caravan of vehicles can move around the country, setting up big screens in public places like village squares and schools.
"Public Viewing in Africa" is getting a lot of attention because the project involves cooperation between the public and the private sector. Sony has formed tie-ups with UNDP in Cameroon, and with JICA in Ghana so that advocacy against HIV/AIDS such as education, counseling and testing can be offered before the matches and at halftime.
The spread of HIV/AIDS, in particular among the young, is a major social problem in Africa. 67%* of people living with HIV/AIDS reside in sub-Saharan Africa. Since lack of knowledge and information about the disease is considered to be one of the causes of this, UNDP and JICA are responding actively through projects such as educational programs on HIV/AIDS prevention and HIV testing for children and young people.
Linking education and testing with football-a sport so popular with youngsters-can lead to a significant boost in HIV/AIDS awareness. A trial run co-sponsored with JICA in Ghana in 2009 delivered impressive results: 7,200 people took part in the event (five times the normal JICA figure in rural areas) with 1,100 of them getting tested for HIV test (3 times the normal figure). Clearly this approach can increase the reach of HIV/AIDS education.
This project was the brainchild of football-loving Sony employees. They hit on the idea of public viewing while exploring ways Sony could make a contribution to Africa through football. Their commitment to help African children experience the thrill of the game goes beyond the parameters of everyday business. It's their passion which is driving this project forward.
A range of equipment was used for the broadcasts including a giant 200-inch screen, a video projector, 16 speakers and the latest Blu-ray Disc™ Player. Our experience in the trial run in 2009 was particularly valuable in helping us develop a special, customized "Africa-edition" systems able to withstand the toughest conditions. After the project came to an end, we donated these equipment to be used for future activities and events in Africa.
Thrilling games projected onto the big screen with ultra-real sound. Kids finally got to see their heroes in action on the pitch. Soon the continent echoed with their cheers as they urge on their national team.