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Thursday, 19 November 2015 00:00

Autumn Round-up

Celebrating its’ 10th anniversary year CWB ran 5 projects in Autumn 2015, once again visiting Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Cameroon and Botswana. Over the course of the 5 projects our volunteers and in-country Ambassadors coached over 16,000 children and trained over 230 teachers and students as cricket coaches.

Uganda was the first project out, departing in mid-September for the northern towns of Aura, Gulu and Lira and accompanied by CWB Ambassador Emmanuel as well as the UCA CDO for the north region, Grace.

The overwhelming success of the Ugandan project lay in the provision of HIV testing stations at all three festivals. A total of 380 children and teachers were tested over the 3 days, with 3 young people testing positive who were not previously aware of their status. They were then able to access counselling and treatment to help them keep healthy to play cricket.

The team also enjoyed playing the role of guests of honour at a cricket festival run and organised by the Mehter group in Lugazi, who had replaced the CWB model demonstrated the year before, including the provision of HIV testing, a great example of sustainability in action.

Uganda was swiftly followed by the other East African countries of Rwanda and Kenya.

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Rwanda saw the power of integration of CWB ambassadors into the volunteer delivery, with all three CWB Ambassadors getting involved in the trip. This allowed the volunteers to split into two groups and visit twice the number of schools. This meant the project delivered ABC and T messages to an astonishing 5200 children over the course of the two weeks, despite the best efforts of Rwandan rain to put a dampener on proceedings.

It also meant the team could work in three locations – the Rwandan capital Kigali, the beautiful Kinihira and also a new town to CWB in Kayonza, visiting new schools and working with new teachers to develop cricket’s links in the east of the country.

The team were also able to revisit old friends at the Rwandan Orphans Project, and see the first ever boys and girls hard-ball games played out between regional sides – a marker of just how far cricket in Rwanda has come since CWB began working there 10 years ago.

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Meanwhile in Kenya the 6 CWB volunteers were joined by 6 local Kenyans to form a formidable 12-person force, visiting Kericho, Muranga’ and Nakuru and coaching 3500 children.

The first destination was Kericho where the group trained a fantastic 64 teachers, as well as visiting a number of primary and secondary schools to reinforce cricket coaching that they had received on a number of previous trips.

Nakuru was the second location visited, where the team were delighted to see the level of progress in cricket development – cricket is now a recognised sport in the city and the schools have even formed a hard ball league as well as soft ball for the younger and newer players to the game.

The last stop was Muranga, schools there had clearly embraced the game as well as the messages that CWB had introduced on their previous 3 trips to the town with good knowledge of the ABC and T messaging.

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That left Cameroon and Botswana to form the final two projects of the year.

Cameroon’s team was certainly small, but it was also mighty. 4 volunteers were joined by 7 local coaches from the Cameroon Cricket Federation to swell their numbers - invaluable particularly in French speaking Yaouunde although they were always keen to learn the correct English terms for delivery to improve their own coaching. The two French speaking volunteers also proved incredibly useful in conversations with teachers as well as students.

In Buea the team came across two teachers in particular who were really keen. One lady, Chebe, particularly wanted the team to visit her school as they had a problem not just with HIV but also with unwanted, unplanned pregnancies. Also in Buea was Mr Sama Divine who helped to organised a lot of the itinerary in the town and got involved in every opportunity to learn more about the game including the impromptu practice session for the CCF coaches that saw PL Tracey snaffle her first international wicket, caught behind!

Meanwhile Rebecca's youthful looks seemed to prompt the older school children to open up as she completed the M&E - asking lots of questions about sex, HIV and AIDS and life in general. The team got a sense of the real impact that having someone to talk honestly with could have on these children who would all too soon be young adults.

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Botswana also had a relatively small team, but again they made the very most of the resources available to them, with 100 students & teachers trained as coaches and over 1500 children coached and introduced to the A,B,C & T’ S. The trip turned out to be a classic “game of two halves”.

While the first week was blighted by cancelling schools the team managed to ably fill their time, getting involved at the SOS orphanage at Gaborone and a second orphanage at Gamadubu and using local contacts to find last-minute schools – classic CWB fare!

The second week in Francistown went considerably more smoothly as plans fell into place and the team were able to work on Coach Education most mornings followed by a school every afternoon.

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The Coach Education programme was the real triumph of the trip. Tapping into local colleges the team were able to introduce cricket to a raft of trainee teachers, many of whom were specialising in PE. Often beginning from a standing start the candidates quickly absorbed a lot of information and left their two-day courses brimming with knowledge and enthusiasm.

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