Sport in Action partners with Durham University
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Sport in Action and Durham University have developed a partnership over the years and each summer approximately 40 UK students travel to Zambia to work with Sport in Action from June to September. sportanddev talks to them to find out more...

 Q1. Sport in Action are in partnership with Durham University, who provide student volunteers to assist in organising and delivering school PE lessons, community sports programmes and health awareness workshops. Tell us a little more about this partnership and how it was formed?


 The partnership between Sport In Action and Durham University dates as far back as 2004 when Sport In Action President, Mr. Clement Chileshe visited UK and met Dr. Peter Warburton. Later that year Sport In Action hosted the first ever national conference on physical education at the Andrews Motel in Lusaka, Zambia.

Durham: Later that year a select group of Durham University staff and students visited Lusaka as part of a pilot project. The team worked alongside Sport in Action, teaming up with the Zambian Peer Leaders and Site Coordinators to support the delivery of their program. The pilot was a huge success and in 2006 UK Sport and 5 other UK Universities got involved in the project and it became known as the IDEALS (International Development through Excellence And Leadership in Sport) Project, with 40 UK students travelling to Zambia to work with both Sport in Action and EduSport from June to September.

Q2. Could you please tell us what benefits students, in particular, bring to this partnership between Sport in Action and Durham?

Durham: The benefits of having the students involved in the project are multiple; firstly, the students pass on their coaching experience and knowledge to both the participants and the Peer Leaders. This is usually a two way process with both UK students and Peer leaders sharing their knowledge and experience with one another, allowing both parties to develop their coaching skills.

The opportunity to work alongside the UK students to develop friendships and experience the cultural exchange makes the position of Peer leader increasingly popular. Furthermore the enthusiasm the Zambians have for working with UK students is incredible, during the summer months the attendance at the sessions increases, as local children enjoy having the opportunity to be coached by a ‘musungu’ and young people who previously may not have been involved with sport are encouraged to try it.

Q3. The partnership began in 2005, could you share with us some of the key lessons which have been learned along the way?

Durham: Over the years that the partnership has been developing, there have been so many vital lessons learned. These have been mainly areas around, cultural differences, training and recruitment. There are many cultural differences between the UK and Zambia. These are easily avoided by learning more about the Zambian culture and fully preparing UK students. There is now a 3 day, mandatory induction training programme held in the UK, which includes staff from our partner organisations in Zambia, to fully prepare the students for the project.

Also the selection criteria of the UK students has seen a change, it is becoming increasingly important to select students who are experienced coaches and this is mainly due to the skill and ability increase of the Zambian coaches and players. UK students have to be extremely competent coaches just in order for them to be able to keep up with the Zambians once on placement.

Q4. Founded in 1998, Sport in Action was the first Zambian sports NGO with sport for development as its core principle. Could you describe how the sport and development movement has evolved in Zambia during this period?

SIA: The partnership with Durham University has had a great impact on sport development and development through sport and enhanced support from government ministries, the corporate world. Several Hiv and Aids, Childs Rights and Faith based organisations country wide including UN are now using sport as a tool for development. There are more sports organisations and federations getting involved in sport development and development through sport due to Durham’s support

Demand for sport and development programs and facilities in schools and communities has increased due to the support. Individuals and organisations from both urban and rural areas are winning awards at the SIA annual National Sports for Development Awards