New sport codes drive global participationSubscribe
Paddy Bedi 26 October 2012
International organisations supported by UK Sport report that outreach programmes which introduce new sports codes has led to increases in sport participation.
In the quarterly webinar, organised under UK Sport’s International community Coaching Education System (ICES), practitioners based in Africa shared with online participants how the promotion of new sports codes through community coaches has led to a significant rise in grassroots participation.
The African continent is famed for high levels of interest and involvement in football, but international organisations such as UK Sport, the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Rwanda, the International Federations of Netball Associations (IFNA) and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) are working to support the development of less traditional codes.
Although international bodies spearhead this drive, it is the local partnerships that ensure the sustainability and success of these new programmes. Community coaches are the focus of these initiatives, as they maintain high levels of competence and the ability to adapt training to local contexts to motivate continued participation.
In Rwanda, the introduction and popularity of sitting volleyball has made a significant contribution to the participation rates across the country. This adds to the success of Rwanda’s national team, which became the first to represent Sub-Saharan Africa, during the London 2012 Games this summer. With support from UK Sport through the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the team has their sights set on the Rio 2016 Games.
Dominique Bizimana, national team member and President of NPC Rwanda, presented the acceleration of participation and interest in sitting volleyball as well as future plans to involve groups such as war-combatants in the sport.
Speaking on the challenges ahead, he said: “Infrastructure is a challenge to reach rural areas and to send people to select new talent and adapt training for competitions.
“The important thing for this programme is the development of coaches. We need to have coaches in districts and train club coaches… including women.”
Community coaches are also the focus for the East African Cup Community Education System (EACCES). Working Group member, Paul Otieno, shared how the initiative will work alongside grassroots organisations to ensure there is a standardised level of sport coaching in over 10 countries.
Speaking on the success of the initiative that is supported by UK Sport and launched last year, Otieno said: “The number of community coaches has grown under East Africa Cup… Community coaches are vital implementers, as they are trained not just to coach but also organise and implement activities.
“They hold the key towards our success stories and learning for future planning. They also define and bring understanding to sport and development activities.”
Meanwhile in Ghana, Development Manager of Ghana Rugby League, Sylvester Wellington, who is supported by UK Sport and RLEF, says community coaches and media have helped the sport to succeed.
Speaking on how a relatively unknown sport has reached hundreds of children across the capital, he said: “We have to start from schools, which is why we have been able to move ahead and are incorporated in the International Schools Sports Association of Ghana.
“Through community work, we have been able to develop eight community teams… and now security divisions such as the army and navy have bought into the project.”
Wellington is currently speaking on local radio shows and approaching the media about their work too.
IFNA is concentrating on key countries in Africa to develop the game of netball, including in Zambia, in partnership with UK Sport through the IDEALS Netball programme. Africa currently hosts some of the world’s best teams, including South Africa, Malawi and Botswana and their programmes extend to countries like Burundi, where sport participation is led by boys and men.
ICES webinars take place every quarter and is an opportunity to learn about international practices of sport and development organisations, supported by UK Sport.
For more details on how to join, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the ICES pages for more information: http://www.uksport.gov.uk/pages/ices/