First Heads of Sport Forum concludes with action plan for East African region
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Plans for a recognised and standardised coaching and accreditation system for the East African region are now well underway, after the first Heads of Sport meeting concluded with positive interest from over 30 key participating organisations involved in East Africa Cup. 

The annual East Africa Cup (EAC) event, which brings together youth from across the region, has become a platform for cultural and sporting exchanges and now at a strategic level, this platform is the basis for a region-wide initiative to standardise coaching accreditation, under the ICES programme, from UK Sport.

The East Africa Cup community Coaching Education System (EACCES) initiative was launched at East Africa Cup 2011 and the first Heads of Sport Forum, was held on 29 June 2012. The meeting sought to introduce the concept, gage interest and plan the steps towards creating this system.

EACCES success so far
EACCES has supported the mapping process with CHRISC Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, the results of which have led to changes in organisational management and the management of sports structures. Phyneous Masimango, Sports Officer for CHRISC Tanzania, shared the success of mapping tool in helping the organisation identify why they were experiencing high attrition rates in their leagues and how to combat it. The league has now attracted and retained its previous level of participation.

Assessing current organisational structures
Delegates were asked to share their organisational structures in terms of training, pathways and curriculum of their coaching systems. It was viewed as a major highlight of EACCES to work towards having t the same standards in training and pathways for our community our coaches. Many cited the current structures of programmes such as Kicking AIDS Out! curriculum and pathways, which involve graduating through levels, as a key way to build capacity, which did not exist among the organisations present.

Call for government recognition
Groups explored the possibility of sharing this platform with national and regional governments and national sports councils to strengthen the impact and framework EACCES could have.

After discussing the potential requirements, participating organisations need to share work plans and invite others in their major activities/events which will help the Regional office to develop the strategic plan. Commitments from the participating organisations was emphasised and urged to take responsibility for the process by documenting best practices and sharing with other stakeholders.

Sharing resources
The sharing of best practice, knowledge and experience is key to the success of EACCES, therefore a commitment to sharing resources and materials and communication through a monthly newsletter was made. Delegates were also invited to the next ICES webinar: The ICES initiative past, present and future to learn more about how UK Sport has supported other organisations around the world.

Using EAC as a platform
East Africa Cup is now platform for these organisations to develop strategic goals, "We already have a platform to start from and there are existing structures we can use," said one participant. 

EACCES now has the potential to become a platform for sharing resources as well as expertise. Samweli Mpenzu from YES Tanzania said, "All organisations here work in the same field, but our methods are different, so by sharing these resources, we could develop a curriculum to follow."

Lena Eltervaag from Right To Play, Burundi, said "This can be a forum to share tools and look at tools for M&E and really look at what life skills they are doing here and in their community."

"The EAC could be a culmination of the processes, the challenges we are facing and the hard work we need to do to ensure the core values of our programmes and I see a lot of links between EAC and us," said Gichuki Francis from Trans-Nzoia Youth Sports Association (TYSA). 

Related article: East African collaborations boost profile and direction of grassroots sport


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