Feet on the Ground (Pies en la Cancha)

Soccer as a sport and as an industry has expanded unlimitedly all over the planet. Bamako, Mali is a clear example of this phenomenon.


The commercialization and popularization of football is evident when walking through the streets of this city, where informal games flood public spaces, official games bring together the community and football icons decorate the environment.


The strong presence of soccer in Bamako provides a metaphor to understand this society from that mirror, since the dynamics of the sport work as a reflection of the socio-economic reality of the country. Development challenges such as access to education, poor participation of youth, well-defined gender roles, exclusion, migration and even corruption, have their place and weight in the world of football and thus evidence these aspects outside of the soccer field.

Coaching for Hope and Albion in the Community are two organizations that have clearly understood this relationship between football and development.


With this premise and taking advantage of the popularity and advocacy power that this sport has, they have used it as a platform to reverse this metaphor and instead channel it to promote human development.


By creating spaces of fun and education through soccer, these organizations seek to empower young people and give them both: the opportunity to be children, and the tools to be able to identify the socio-economic risks that surrounds them and thus become adults capable of catalyzing their own development and that of their communities.


In 2011, I worked with these organizations to create a participatory and multimedia documentary that explored this relationship between football and various aspects of human development, through audiovisual essays and the stories of the young participants of the workshop.


To see the complete project visit: Feet on the ground

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Photos - Alessandra Baltodano

Year - 2011

Location - Bamako, Mali

Text - Alessandra Baltodano

Según las creencias Bribri, en el cuerpo habitan dos almas: la del ojo derecho y la del izquierdo. Al morir, Wikol, el alma del ojo derecho, viaja hasta el inframundo. Wimblu, el alma del ojo izquierdo, permanece entre los huesos rondando el mundo de los vivos.  


According to Bribri beliefs, two souls inhabit the body: the right eye soul and the left eye soul. At death, Wikol, the right eye soul, travels to the underworld. Wimblu, the soul of the left eye, remains among the bones prowling the world of the living.