The Journey Continues: Malawi, Zambia & Botswana

May has seen a busy month for our man Richard Bennett as he heads down through the African continent taking Rugby and important educational messages to thousands of kids.

Over the past few weeks the team of 6 have visited schools in Malawi (Mngwangwa Full Primary School) and Zambia (Nahumba Basic School), empowering local school teachers and coaches to work with the kids on an ongoing basis. Decent sports equipment has been left in each of the schools as well as link ups with UK based schools to continue the support after the team moved on.

Many pupils turned out in their hundreds to support their classmates in the rugby tournaments, with all children enjoying themselves and trying their hardest at the game; many cheering enthusiastically from the sidelines.

Head of P.E. at Nahumba Basic School in Zambia said the following about the visit:

“We have really enjoyed this week. Especially as the game doesn’t exist here yet – it has been a pleasure learning the game. The pupils are enjoying it very much and the ones who don’t play are eager to join in. We want to continue when you leave and go to other schools to teach them so we can have competitions. It would be my pleasure to spread rugby among the adults in Choma as well!”

The journey now sees the team head South into Botswana, with the final two destinations being Namibia and South Africa. Richard will spend time working alongside Nick Mould (Country Director) at our permanent United Through Sport base in South Africa (Port Elizabeth) where we currently work with over 20,000 kids. We are looking forward to welcoming the team and we are sure a long overdue haircut will be in order!

UTS visits schools in Ethiopia and Kenya

For the last month a team has been heading down through Europe and into Africa to deliver Rugby and other sports sessions as a platform to improve health, education and build life skills in young people.

Richard Bennett, leading the team gives us his update:
Our first school visit was set for Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and, to get there, the team drove 10,000km in 32 days, overland from the UK, through Europe and North Africa. After a day spent at local government school, Kokebetsibah, arranged by partner NGO, Plan UK, we moved to Adama where we’d be based for the week, coaching pupils and staff at Nafyad School and Adama No. 2 Elementary.

Rugby is not a known sport in Ethiopia, so we caused quite an interest… Maximising Nafyad’s timetabled PE lessons, we saw over 600 pupils a day, got the staff playing touch rugby and finished the week with a multi-year group tournament, with local staff refereeing some of the matches. It came as no surprise when Ethiopian TV journalists arrived with their camera to report on the action, featuring our visit that night on the news!

Results from the visit:
Number of pupils coached – 1240
Amount of pupils participating in 3 or more sessions – 44%
Male : Female – 60 : 40
Number of buddy coaches* – 7
Number of local staff empowered – 2

*Buddy coach = local member of staff supporting our coaches during a rugby session.

Abraham Legese, P.E. Teacher, Nafyad School said the following:
“We are very happy because having United Through Sport and Bhubesi Pride here is very lovely for us. It is important that all players are equal. Through learning about the values of rugby, people begin to respect each other, and there is a sense of unity and community in the school. The children must develop good behaviour and be sociable to each other”
Moving on to Kenya.

To reach our next partner school involved a long drive south to Nairobi in Kenya: Shadrack Kimalel, on the edge of the Kibera slum. A severely underprivileged community, we saw nothing but talent and enthusiasm for a game perfect for the pupils here, displaying natural ability and athleticism. Adding further value to our work at Shadrack, our coaching team was joined by students from our host school for the week, Brookhouse School, who autonomously delivered fantastic sessions.

Results from the visit:
Number of pupils coached – 450
Amount of pupils participating in 3 or more sessions – 60%
Male : Female – 60 : 40
Number of buddy coaches – 3
Number of local staff empowered – 1 (5 Brookhouse students develop coaching skills)

Thanks to all who are involved with this exciting project and we look forward to updating you again soon.