Student ambassadors represent the core values of IDEALS programmeSubscribe
UK Sport 13 June 2012
Students in Namibia display cultural intelligence both on and off the field as IDEALS (International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport) placements begin in Windhoek with three grassroots sport and development organisations, Physically Active Youth, SCORE and Special Olympics Namibia.
The IDEALS exchange programme facilitated by UK Sport, was recognised earlier this year for creating ‘culturally intelligent’ students and this year’s UK ambassadors simply strengthen this claim.
Six students and one team leader from Liverpool John Moores University join grassroots organisations PAY, SCORE and SON to focus on reciprocal learning across coaching, event organisation and leadership training, as well as gain a cultural understanding of how sport and its universal symbolism is taught in very different cultural and social surroundings to their own.
Mutuality and reciprocity
Selected Namibian coaches were given the opportunity to visit the UK earlier this year to also gain an understanding of the cultural context of the UK. Rob Noonan, currently working with PAY shares the importance of cultural exchanges with this colleague Kayla. “We discussed Ester’s experience of the UK and the differences between both countries. I was informed about her cultural exchange programme which took place in Newcastle at the beginning of 2012. It was very interesting to gain an understanding of Esther’s point of view of how we use sport to engage young people.”
As football is one of the most popular sports across the continent, they have experienced the passion and skill that their young players have to offer, but one observation from Phil Duncan, is a great contrast to the images of young people in developing countries:
“Although the first obvious difference is the facilities in our school, Fidel Castro, where SCORE runs activities only has a gravel pitch full of large rocks which the children use for PE. What is baffling is that all the children would remove their shoes and play barefoot. I saw children remove stones from their feet, but not once did one of them moan or let this stop them from participating, which is a lot different to what I am used to in England where I have children crying to me for petty, miner things such as another child looking at them.”
From seeing the children play, Molly McCann believes, “Africans play the game the way it should be played. I was very impressed with the standard of play considering they didn’t wear shoes and the gamesmanship shown, the children respect their pitch.”
Diversity and equity
Jon Guest met Deon Namiseb, a global messgener for SON, and found someone who not only reaffirmed his beliefs in equality, but that anything is possible. “When he shared with us his story, his love for sport, as well as his passion for challenging those who neglect people with disabilities, he made me realise even more that whoever you are, anything is possible. Deon has become a national sporting hero for his efforts and achievements, and this coupled with his constant happiness make me feel very fortunate that I get the chance to work with him and help challenge these stigmas regarding people with disabilities,” he said.
Returning student and team leader, Nikole Smith believes “Although I was a student on last year’s programme, I think it’s important for this year’s coaches to develop their own sessions and shape their experiences.”
This they will, as they continue their placements in Namibia for the next month.
Philip Duncan, Jon Guest, Luther Hinds, Molly McCann, Joseph Newson and Robert Noonan will be returning from Namibia on 16 July 2012.