Update from We Play, December 2022

Long time no hear from us. Preparations in Jordan took a little bit more time than expected, but we are now under way towards realizing the project in the city of Russeifa. The partner organizations (Masahit Al-Hayy Initiative and Recycling for Education) are planning the co-design and co-build workshops for spring next year. The postcards created by children of the community during the workshop of the first phaze of the project will be used as an inspiration for designing a child-friendly neighbourhood public space. Thanks to our donors for their patience. We will keep you posted!

The children books we collected from Biblionef in the Netherlands have finally arrived in Nairobi. The books will be distributed by the Public Space Network among the five neighbourhood projects selected earlier. We hope the children living in these neighbourhoods and who visit the public places will enjoy reading the books.

Next time also more on the Regent playground in Sierra Leone where the Playground Foundation continues to work in a sustainable play space for kids.

We Play wishes you a wonderful new year!

Updates from We Play, April 2022

Kenya: Next phase of Changing Faces Competition

We Play supports all five neighbourhood teams that were selected as part of the Changing Faces Competition for transforming poor neighbourhoods in Nairobi into safe and accessible public spaces. All projects involve child-friendly elements. The construction of the public spaces has been done already. Currently the teams will be trained in maintenance and their capacity will be strengthened to start with a next phase: the design and building of new public places in Nairobi. Meanwhile We Play in cooperation with Dutch organizations Biblionef will send English language children books to some of the teams that have included a small library in their project.

The five teams are: Sister Brother Love Community Based Organization at Dandora neighbourhood,  Believers Transformation League, also at Dandora, Komb Green Solutions at Korogocho slum, Wahenga Youth Group at Kayole slum and Kamikunji Environment Conservation Champions (KECC) at Kamikunji neighbourhood.

PSN also receives support by the city of Nairobi and UN Habitat among others.  

Sierra Leone: Playground Foundation

The playground at Regent is up and running. The Playground Foundation, that built the playground, the Regent community, Saint Charles’ church and a local caretaker have reached an agreement to maintain the playground for the longer term. Regent Canterbury Garden for Children, located at Regent, a community near Freetown, is the first of its kind in Sierra Leone. We Play will continue its support

Jordan: Child-friendly public space initiative

We Play, Sharnaqa and the Masahit Al-Hayy Initiative further develop the plan to design and build a child-friendly open neighbourhood  space in Jordan. Besides Russeifa, the initiators currently also look at suitable places in Jordan’s capital Amman in collaboration with local community organizations.

More updates are on the way.

September 2021 update

A little update from We Play…

As mentioned before, The We Play Foundation has become a partner in a new project in Jordan!

We Play, Sharnaqa Placemaking for and by children and Recycling for Education have joined forces to develop a child-friendly open space in the city of Russeifa in the north eastern part of Jordan. The plot of land will be transformed into a safe, accessible and inclusive place for children to play. 

It will be maintained and managed by the local organization Recycling for Education and the local community. Children, their parents and the community as a whole will be actively involved in the design and construction of the place. The play designers of Sharnaqa will help with the design by offering their longtime expertise in play space design. 

The role of We Play will be to help with raising funds for the project and generating publicity and awareness about the need for safe child-friendly public spaces in Jordan’s urban areas.

More info at: www.sharnaqa.org.

Kenya – Changing Faces Competition 2020/2021

The Changing Faces Competition has entered its second phase and has selected five neighborhood initiatives for further development, these include neighbourhoods in Dandora, Kayole, Kamukunji, Kibera and Korogocho, all spread throughout Nairobi, and all in poor neighborhoods.

This means the five teams, all of whom will include topics such as neighboorhood space and community ownership, will receive support and advice to further develop the public neighborhood space through workshops among others, because all include child-friendly elements. 

More info at: www.publicspacenetwork.org.

News about We Play

July 2021

We Play joins forces with Sharnaqa Placemaking by Children

Shanarqa is a non-profit hybrid architecture entreprise that stimulates and designs safe play spaces with children and their communities. We play and Sharnaqa will explore opportunities to  work together on developing safe play areas for children in places where play is not automatically part of their daily lives. More info at: http://www.sharnaqa.org.

Kenya: Changing Faces Competition 2020/2021

Public Space Network (PSN) has entered the second phase of the Changing Faces Competition (CFC) in June 2021. A selection has been made of the most innovative community driven public space initiatives. The winners will receive assistance to fully develop their neighbourhood project. We Play will give its support to a child friendly place created by one of the selected community groups. CFC receives support by the city of Nairobi and UN Habitat.

More info at: http://www.publicspacenetwork.org.

Changing Faces Competition 2020

We Play and Public Space Network work together to build great open spaces in Nairobi

There is a rising demand for cleaner, safer and greener public spaces in Nairobi and other urban areas in Kenya. City planners and designers all know by now that these public spaces are a key component to the success of healthy cities. However due to different reasons, the city administration is slow in creating these needed public spaces. Therefore citizens of especially poorer neighborhoods in Nairobi joined forces a few years ago to transform by themselves neglected  open spaces into small parks, play areas for children, court yards, walkways, river banks etc.

Public Space Network (PSN) is a Nairobi-based organization that promotes clean, green, vibrant and safe cities and connects citizens and their communities with builders, designers and other experts by initiating the so-called Changing Faces Competition (CFC). By helping to transform Nairobi PSN hopes to transform the lives of its citizens in a positive way.

The idea behindCFCis to support the neighborhoods in their efforts to transform the open areas into clean, green and safe community spaces. Different communities are invited to use all their creativity and community spirit to compete with each other for the most beautiful open space. The best initiatives will be shortlisted and nominated for awards.

After 4 successful editions of CFC mobilizing over 4.000 participants who transformed over 200 spaces and positively impacted more than 200.000 users of public spaces, CFC is scaling up further. In the 5th edition CFC will emphasize the capacity-building dimension of the participating teams.  

CFC consists of two phases: In the first phase, which started in October 2020, any community group is invited to participate and initiate the transformation of a public open space using their creativity and locally available low-cost material. At the end of this phase, foreseen for the end of December 2020, a selection is made of the 5 best performing teams. In the second phase these best performing teams will be closely accompanied by PSN to uplift their transformations into real masterpieces. Mentors, such as public space experts and urban planners, will support with advise and training  this creative process and other partners will help search for seed funding.

Teams can compete in different categories based on the type of spaces they choose to transform. One of them is the Most child-friendly space, where teams attempt to create a safe space that is enjoyable for children to play on, relax, learn and interact with each other and overall creates an enabling environment for children. Check out this video presenting the winner of the Most child-friendly space award from the 4th edition of the Changing Faces Competition.

The goals of the Changing Faces Competition perfectly fit We Play’s objective to contribute to harmonious and sustainable communities by supporting green and safe play areas for children. Therefore We Play fully supports the competition, especially the creation of the most child-friendly space.

If you are also excited about the competition, you can help us by giving your support and make a donation. We Play will use your donation to help realize the most child-friendly place in Nairobi.

You can send your donation to We Play’s account NL77TRIO0338602372.

More information about the Changing Faces Competition:


Official opening of the playground

Today is national ‘Play outside’ day here in the Netherlands! Coincidentally, yesterday was also the official opening of the playground and library at Regent, Sierra Leone, by Playground Foundation! We wanted to share some pictures of this colourful event with you. The event was attended by members of the Regent community, the St. Charles’ church and representatives of other official authorities, including the Sierra Leone Football Association.

Unfortunately, the playground is still closed due to the Corona crisis, however the library will open for a small number of children: three or four at a time are allowed to come and read books.

We also have exciting new plans ahead: the next project as part of the playground will be the growing of the flower garden. The children of the Regent community will be actively involved in it.
Best wishes from the We Play team,

Gerda, Ralph, Laura & Arjan

The role of We Play during COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly had profound repercussions on countries worldwide, with most of them entering some form of lockdown. Individuals, households, and companies have seen their freedom of movement limited, and schools have closed. 

This is quite problematic for a country like Sierra Leone, where children often don’t have access to books and other material to support their schooling and education. During these uncertain times, it is vital that children can keep learning and developing.

The library’s playground in Regent, a project that We Play supports, is already well under way and still needs a few touch ups before it can be finished, and ready to welcome a limited number of children at a time. We Play sees a wonderful opportunity amidst these difficult times to offer young children of the community a safe haven to read, learn, and play, as their school have shut down.

Any donation will help towards finishing the construction of the library, you can donate either directly via our IBAN or via geef.nl*.

We kindly thank everyone for all the support We Play has received, and hope everyone stays safe and healthy.

*IBAN: NL77TRIO0338602372

Geef.nl account: https://www.geef.nl/nl/doneer?project=4716&backLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.geef.nl%2Fnl%2Fproject%2Fspeeltuin-en bibliotheekproject-sierra-leone%2Fdonaties

Corona crisis

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet fully understood yet. It also affects the work of We Play. Currently our partner organization in Sierra Leone, Playground Foundation, is not able to finish the construction of the Regent playground due to measures taken by the government to contain the spread of the virus. We wish our partners and all involved in the playground in Sierra Leone to remain safe and healthy.

Playing safely in the African city

There are almost no playgrounds in Africa, especially in the fast-growing cities, and children have almost no place to play safely. Busy traffic, construction works and urban pollution create a high-risk environment for vulnerable groups such as children.

We Play supports the construction of playgrounds in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Thanks to the efforts of We Play’s local partner, Playground Foundation, a portion of land has been obtained in Regent, just outside the capital of Freetown. The construction of the playground has started with local support in the form of small contributions, free materials and volunteers.

The existence of such a safe and accessible playground in Sierra Leone is unique. In addition to playground equipment, there will also be a soccer field, a botanical garden and a library. Playground Foundation and the Regent community will manage and maintain the playground.

We Play is a non-profit organization that aims to support local initiatives for the development and construction of safe play areas in Africa and elsewhere in the world. In our view, every child deserves a place to play safely and enjoy their childhood.

So far, most of the work has been done by our partner organization in Sierra Leone. However, this is not yet enough. We Play is committed to help finishing the construction of the playground this year. Support is very welcome. Contributions are used for the further construction and designing the playground, and the construction of the library, as well as the training of the playground caretakers and the librarian. Donations can be transferred to NL77TRIO0338602372.

Building Safe Playgrounds in Africa

Playing outside in Africa? It shouldn’t be a problem, you may think. Children can play everywhere. Or not? Playgrounds are anything but self-evident. In Africa there are hardly any safe play areas. Rapid urbanization in many parts of the continent poses many risks, especially for vulnerable groups such as children living in poorer areas, because of the dangerous traffic, bustle, pollution and other hazards.