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Great Britain Olympic stars and team embark on 50 hours of sport in Lusaka Zambia

This week The Wallace Group and Sport in Action are conducting a charity challenge and fundraising appeal called #Zambia5050. A team of 12 British sporting athletes including Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty and Great Britain High Performance Swimming Coach Mel Marshall are taking part in fifty hours of sport over five days to raise money for a residential training facility at Kabwata.

Marshall, who is a patron for the Perfect Day Foundation, the charity who supports the initiative, will lead the group with the support of Peaty and his fellow athletes. The team line-up including; Anna Zair, Rob Day, James Lovatt, Ryan Lovatt, Abbie Clayton, Abbie Hymas, Katrina Gilbert, Mel Berry, Chris Tidy and Mollie Pearse.

The challenge will involve these individuals undertaking 10 hours of sport per day for five days at five different locations in Lusaka and the surrounding communities. They will be joined by 100's of young Zambians from four of the most deprived communities in Lusaka, where poverty, HIV, domestic and gender based violence, teenage pregnancy and homelessness are rife.

The five chosen sports are the main sports taught through Sport in Action’s peer leaders in local schools and were netball, basketball, football, triathlon and volleyball.

This coincides with the 12th year of the 'Volunteer Zambia' project, which sends out dozens of students from the seven universities each year to deliver coaching, build new sports facilities and undertake sports development capacity building programs across Zambia.

Mel Marshall, Olympic gold medal winning coach and Perfect Day said:

“On my previous visits to Zambia I have seen how valuable sport can be in enhancing the quality of life of young people who have next to nothing. I promised myself I would return every Olympic cycle and try to raise money to give them a chance to enjoy sport and learn valuable life skills.”

Peaty commented:

“Four years ago we went out there and took on a 500km bike ride in 42 degrees. Some of the money we raised has helped build a sports facility and we will be starting our five day challenge this year from there, which is really exciting.”

Join Mel, Adam and team at the 50for50 challenge across various sites in Lusaka August 16th- 20th 2017.

Just hours before the #Zambia5050 heroes fly out, we meet three more of the team

As a founding member of The Perfect Day Foundation, 50 for 50 team member Mollie Pearse wholeheartedly understands the magnitude of the challenge ahead of her. Originally travelling to Zambia in 2007 as a naïve 20 year old, she fell in love with a country that’s ‘vibrant and full of talent’ and cannot wait to return this month. Here we catch up with Mollie prior to her undertaking 50 hours of sport in 5 days (gulp)…

What’s the most vivid memory that you have of Zambia?

Definitely the vibrancy - from the colour of the clothes, to the bright sunshine and beaming smiles of the children!

What excites you most about this challenge?

The chance to inspire and be inspired by hundreds of young people. I'm also excited to test my skills of several ball sports, having spent the last 12 months training for endurance sports; I think my coordination may need some refinement – no doubt 50 hours will help me here!

How did you prepare for the challenge?

I've had a number of endurance races this year; triathlons, cycling, swimming and running events, so I hope these will stand me in good stead.

Out of the five, which is your strongest sport?

Triathlon...coordination is not strength!!

How much money are you hoping to raise?

I'd love to exceed the £50k target. This is such a fabulous cause, with a real chance to make a sustainable difference to so many young Zambians. The more we raise, the greater the impact. Keep donating please!!

Where will the funds go?

We will focus on a number of projects, from building multipurpose sports facilities and accommodation, to funding peer leaders through education with the aim to springboard them into successful careers. We will also help great causes such as funding food programs and maintaining shower/toilet blocks at a local street kid drop-in centre.

What would you say to someone wanting to get involved in this project?

Jump in. It will be the most inspiring thing you'll do!

What impact has sport had on your life?

I studied sport science at university, so I am grateful to sport for many reasons; sport has allowed me to meet some incredible people who I can call my best friends. It has guided me into a career that I love and it has taught me a huge amount about leadership, communication and resilience.

If you could play one sport for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sounds a little cliché, but I'd just like to stay fit and healthy enough so that I can continue training and taking part in as many adventures as possible!

What would you say to young people who have dreams of excelling in sport?

Stay focused and passionate about your dreams, but don't forget to take out of sport the amazing leadership and life skills it gives you. Sport is about so much more than what happens on the pitch, court or field!

Fresh from completing the legendary Marmotte bike race in the Granfondo Alpes, PR executive Mel Berry is ready for her next challenge… joining the 50 for 50 team!

Mel’s journey and affection for Africa started in 2012 when she first visited the country with Rebecca Adlington and Melanie Marshall in a bid to cycle 280 miles for charity, ‘Zambia is an amazing place with a refreshing attitude to life – despite experiencing so much poverty, the local people smile so brightly. I have so many wonderful memories, from the beautiful Victoria Falls to the isolation of towns in Lusaka’ she remembers fondly.

Getting prepared for this monstrous challenge hasn’t been easy, with Mel admitting that it’s not all been smooth sailing, laughing she explains ‘preparation has been tough, so far I’ve just been riding my bike but I hope my base level of fitness will help. In the past I’ve taken part in other challenges including a half Ironman and crazy cycling events – they’ve got to help’.

Not losing sight of her reason for taking part, Mel urges everyone to get involved and donate, ‘every little helps, even a small amount will make such a difference. Hopefully we can raise lots of money and have fin doing it’.

Ahead of the 50 for 50 challenge, Zambia first-timer Abigail Hymas shares her hopes of improving the lives of young people as a result of this immense encounter.

How did u prepare for the challenge?

I have a good level of fitness, however I’ve been going to the gym more often with the goal of increasing my stamina.

Out of the five sports, which is your strongest?

Definitely netball!

How much money are you hoping to raise?

I’m hoping to raise a minimum of £500 that will help go towards the final goal of £50,000. The money will aid local projects with the aim of improving the lives of the people in poverty.

What impact has sport had on your life?

Sport has given me a focus throughout my life and enabled me to reach my goals – it’s also made me more determined to achieve my ambitions.

Do you have a favourite sporting moment?

When Andy Murray won Wimbledon – he showed that anything is possible! It showed young people that they could excel in sport if you follow your dreams and work hard.

If you could play one sport for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’d say netball because I havea huge passion for it and I love being a part of a team.

Finally, what inspires you?

Seeing people achieve what they have worked for makes me want to strive for my own goals.

A pair of Lovatts join the team, James who has been before and Ryan who is visiting for the first time. They took time out to tell us their stories

Continuing our round up of eager volunteers taking part in the 50 for 50 challenge, we meet keen swimmer and Liverpool fan, James Lovatt.

Originally travelling to Zambia in 2012 as part of Mel Marshall’s charity team that cycled from Livingstone to Lusaka, James is beginning to get excited about returning to Africa. ‘It’s such an inspirational place that cannot help but make you realise what you take for granted. The thought of seeing this fantastic team come together excites me and I’ve been preparing by running every day’.

Urging everyone to get involved and support the aim of raising £50,000, James is keen to recap on the impact that the fundraising will have. ‘We have to raise a lot of money that will undoubtedly improve the lives of young people in Zambia. My entire life has revolved around sport, so it’s important to believe in ourselves and know that we can do it’.

Reflecting on past achievements and former sporting moments, James muses on someone that continues to inspire him, ‘I have been lucky enough to be coached by Mel [Marshall]. Since I finished my swimming career she has remained a close friend and is a truly inspirational person’.

Looking forward to the impending challenge, James assesses the prospect of 50 hours of sport over 5 days. ‘ Now I’m the ripe old age of 30 my body isn’t what it used to be - I’d say that football is going to be my strongest discipline, although I’ll let you be the judge of that’.

The second Lovatt joining our line-up of the great and the good is competitive swimmer, Ryan Lovatt. Travelling to Zambia for the first time, we get-to-know the man behind the swimming cap.

Will this be your first time in Zambia?

Yes, although I have followed others including Mel [Marshall] and her crazy cycle for charity. It will be my first time in Africa and I am very much looking forward to seeing the issues that so many face everyday. I’m excited to undertake the challenge whilst interacting with the Zambian children that will inevitably make our trip worthwhile.

What’s your perception of Zambia?

I think I’ll be surprised by the poverty, as well as the character and determination of those that face tough conditions on a daily basis – it’s hard to imagine the poverty and conditions.

What excites you most about this challenge?

I stopped swimming 3 years ago now, so I’m excited to push myself into an uncomfortable place for the greater good – I definitely won’t be fiving up! I’m so excited and intrigued how the money we raise will help and make a difference to the lives of local people.

How have you prepared for the challenge?

Not enough. I keep telling myself it’s getting closer and closer, so I’m trying to replicate the activities in training. I’m confident that I’ll be OK but the poverty and the lack of sleep that will surround us, will certainly make this challenge the most difficult thing that I’ve attempted in my life.

Out of the 5 sports which is your strongest?

I’m an extremely competitive person (so people tell me anyway) but I’d probably say netball is going to test my ability, and volleyball will test me physically.

How much money are you hoping to raise and where will the funds go?

The more money raised the better, but we are aiming for £50,000. The funds will be used to change lives for the better – a small contribution goes a long way to making a huge difference to somebody’s life that could realistically end within a few years without support from those that are lucky enough to make a difference.

What would you say to someone wanting to get involved in this project?

Firstly, donate and start making a difference. Secondly, do it for yourself! It doesn’t matter what the challenge is or who it’s for – if you’re willing to raise money to make a difference in someone else’s life, then nothing should stop you doing it.

What impact has sport had on your life?

Sport has always been my life – I have swam competitively for 12 years and trained up to 20 hours per week. I am now employed within sport and work to pass on my knowledge to younger swimmers where I coach at a local club. Sport has given me so many opportunities, as well as giving me confidence - without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

We are thrilled that radio and television presenter, Colin Murray, is joining our team of heroes. He tells us why he's so excited to take part

“I'll pack loads of chocolate in my suitcase to bring the other athletes down to my level”

Joining our heroic team travelling to Zambia on the 15th August is sports and music presenter, Colin Murray. Complete with fighting talk, the Liverpool F.C. fanatic has given up smoking and is ready to embark on some ‘clean-living’ in preparation for the impending challenge, ‘I'm either really fit or ultra-unhealthy, so we’ll see if I crack before arriving in Zambia. Last year I travelled to Kenya for charity and during my time cycled up a fair few hills, so hopefully I won’t be too unfit’.

With the start date fast approaching, Murray is already sizing up some of his teammates and their ‘physical attributes’. ‘There’s no way I'm taking my top off within twenty miles of Adam Peaty. Seriously, it will take me years to recover from the physical comparison. I’m just excited to hang onto the coattails of brilliant people – it’s an honour to have even been invited’.

Modesty aside, Murray enters the 50 for 50 challenge with healthy expectations about Zambia, its people and what he can contribute. ‘Alongside the obvious problems, I found such warmth and beauty when working in Kenya [for charity]. I’m so looking forward to developing a human connection and seeing what The Perfect Day Foundation is doing to help. I really like to get involved with smaller charities as you can see the direct impact that the money has’.

Switching his mind to the task in hand, the BBC 5Live presenter has taken some time to consider which sport he will enjoy the most, ‘I just love playing football – as a kid I’d play it morning, noon and night! Saying that, I do like basketball and I’m very happy on a bike too. The main thing is that we raise lots of money. I recently hosted a charity raffle where we raised 5k – one of the prizes was ‘match worn’ Adam Peaty trunks, now who wouldn’t want those’.

Pondering the vast impact that sport has had on his life, Murray is keen to understand the challenge ahead of him and how it has the potential to inspire. ‘It’s pretty epic. I've seen Brits win Olympic gold and Liverpool win the F.A. Cup, but what really motivates me is honest, positive, inclusive people’, which is pretty lucky, as this team has quite a few.

Next 50 for 50 team member to be interviewed is Abi Clayton...

In the second of our countdown interviews with those taking part in The Perfect Day Foundation’s 50 for 50 challenge, we meet Abi Clayton. Going against the sports mad grain, Abi has a passion for all things music – playing 4 instruments (including the bassoon!!).

Here we find out a little more about Abi, who deserves an extra high-five for balancing her training schedule with planning a wedding – and that’s no easy feat!

What excites you most about this challenge?

It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before! The prospect of a personal challenge this size, the location and being part of an amazing team is wonderful!

How did you prepare for the challenge?

My prep for Zambia started in February by joining my local ParkRun. I needed to establish a basic level of fitness (as I’m not sporty at all). Since then, I have continued to run, cycle and play netball whenever possible.

Out of the five sports, which is your strongest?

A tough question but I’d probably say that I enjoy football the most!

How much money are you hoping to raise?

The school that I work at (Boston High School) have been brilliant. We’ve done a non-uniform day and have been selling refreshments during the summer events. The students and staff have been really supportive and I’ve been very lucky in receiving lots of personal donations. We’re still a way off the 50K but every little helps.

Where will the funds go?

The funds are going to raise money to build a Youth Centre, where local Zambians can receive support and education.

What would you say to someone wanting to get involved in this project?

I was hesitant at the start; having not heard about the project or done anything like this before. The team and members of the charity are all so friendly and they welcome any support you can give. To get involved in our challenge, please, please donate. Even a small donation will go a long way.

What impact has sport had on your life?

It’s encouraged me to listen to others, work as a team and build resilience. Working in education now, I see how sport has the ability to encourage young adults to thrive. This challenge has had a massive impact on my life- I feel better about myself and I'm sure that I smile more!

If you could sell sport as a product, how would you describe it?

Sport, the vehicle to a better place!

Finally, what inspires you?

Other people’s successes

Katrina Gilbert is the first to be interviewed ahead of the 50 for 50 Challenge

With less than a month to go, the 50 for 50 challenge is fast approaching. In the lead up to this immense sporting encounter, we catch up with our team of heroes that are all hoping to help raise the monumental sum of £50,000.

First up is Katrina Gilbert (but you can call her Trina) - an adventure loving Marketing Manager from Lincolnshire who’s (just about) ready for the challenge of a lifetime.

Will this be your first time in Zambia?

Yes and I’m very excited to visit. I've been told lots of amazing things about Zambia - particularly about the lovely people.

What excites you most about this challenge?

It's an honour to be joining Mel's team. Knowing that we are going to be working together to help improve the lives of young Zambians definitely excites me.

How have you been preparing for the challenge?

It’s been hard to train because we are participating in so many different sports. Each week, I've tried to do at least two different forms of training - so swimming with running one week, and cycling with netball the next.

Out of the five sports, which is your strongest?

I would say netball but I'm looking forward to the triathlon too as I enjoy cycling and swimming, but it's going to be very different from training in UK weather.

How much money are you hoping to raise?

As a group, we are aiming to raise £50k. Everyone in the team has worked so hard to raise the money and fundraising will continue even after the challenge to achieve the £50,000 target. I'm very grateful to all the personal sponsors, and for the sponsorship from Boston College - being a provider of Further Education, it very much supports the ethos of the charity.

Where will the funds go?

The money we raise will help provide young Zambians with the opportunity to get involved with and be educated within sport. It’s great to know it will also provide them with new facilities.

What would you say to someone wanting to get involved in this project?

The Perfect Day Foundation is such an amazing cause, and being part of a team that makes a difference to people's lives is so rewarding. The money Mel and her team raised during their 500k cycle ride around Zambia 4 years ago helped build a new sports facility, which we will be using on one of the days during this challenge - I'm really looking forward to seeing that. This is proof that the money raised, really does make a difference.

Finally, what inspires you?

People who try hard to achieve, despite any obstacles or challenges they may face.

Peaty and Marshall #Zambia5050 challenge launched

Olympic Swimming Champions and England Football Manager help launch fundraising campaign to create sporting opportunities for some of Africa’s poorest children

Last week The Wallace Group held a media launch for their #Zambia5050 fundraising appeal, with Olympic stars Adam Peaty, Mel Marshall and Rebecca Adlington and England Football manager Gareth Southgate taking part in a netball shoot out at Loughborough University.

Marshall, who is a patron for the Perfect Day Foundation, the charity who support the initiative, will lead a group heading to Zambia in August with the aim of raising £50,000 for 50 hours of sport. With the support of Peaty and his fellow athletes the team will undertake 10 hours of sport per day for five days at five different locations in Lusaka and the surrounding communities. They will be joined by 100's of young Zambians from four of the most deprived communities in Lusaka, where poverty, HIV, domestic and gender based violence, teenage pregnancy and homelessness are rife.

Netball, one of the five chosen sports alongside basketball, football, triathlon and volleyball, was chosen to raise awareness of the campaign, with Loughborough Lightning’s international shooters Peace Proscovia and Vanessa Walker putting the four celebrities through their paces.

The support didn’t stop there though as British Triathlon and England Netball CEO’s Jack Buckner and Jo Adams joined in the shoot off. Both governing bodies, alongside British Basketball, British Swimming and Volleyball England are supporting the campaign alongside the seven Wallace Group Universities: Bath, Cardiff Met, Durham, Loughborough, Northumbria, St Andrews and Stirling

This will be the 12th year of the 'Volunteer Zambia' project, which sends out dozens of students from the seven universities each year to deliver coaching, build new sports facilities and undertake sports development capacity building programs across Zambia.

Of the Wallace Group’s mission in Zambia, Loughborough University Director of Sport Development Tim Garfield said:

''Zambia is a country with major challenges; HIV has devastated whole communities and poverty is everywhere. Despite this its young people are friendly, optimistic and many have incredible sporting talent. They love the release and joy sport provides and I am passionate about giving them better sporting opportunities. Mel's utterly selfless efforts to give sporting chances to young Zambians who have next to nothing is inspiring.''

Mel Marshall, Olympic gold medal winning coach and Perfect Day patron added:

“On my previous visits to Zambia I have seen how valuable sport can be in enhancing the quality of life of young people who have next to nothing. I promised myself I would return every Olympic cycle and try to raise money to give them a chance to enjoy sport and learn valuable life skills. Every donation makes such a big difference to the lives of these young people.”

Of the initiative England manager Gareth Southgate said:

“We take for granted opportunities to play sport and the facilities we have in this country. Even facilities that we wouldn’t deem as good in the UK would be outstanding in countries like Zambia, so it’s important we do something about that. For the guys to go out there and inspire people to take up sport and maybe enable them to go to the next level, with some good coaching thrown in, is really exciting.”

Peaty commented:

“I’m not the biggest netball fan but as soon as I got playing I realised it was actually really fun! Hopefully today was the start of raising a lot of money to allow children to get involved in sport and be educated through sport. Hopefully then future generations in Zambia will all take up a sport and maybe some of them can even pursue it as a serious career.

“Four years ago we went out there and took on a 500km bike ride in 42 degrees. Some of the money we raised has helped build a sports facility and we will be starting our five day challenge this year from there, which is really exciting.”

Loughborough Lightning's Ugandan shooting sensation said:

''Loughborough University has given me opportunities I never dreamed were possible growing up in Uganda. I am just so lucky and I want to help other African girls to get the same life changing chances that I have enjoyed. There is so much talent waiting to be discovered and this initiative will bring hope to many young Zambian girls''.

England Netball CEO Joanna Adams also commented:

''I visited Zambia last summer and immediately fell in love with the place. Netball is growing rapidly in Zambia because it can be played anywhere and is relatively easy to organise. The young girls have so much talent. England Netball are fully committed to helping Zambian netball succeed and we are trying to help them qualify for the World Cup in Liverpool in two years’ time.''

British Triathlon CEO Jack Buckner added

''This is such a worthy cause. It's an inspirational program and the money raised will make a real difference to the quality of many young people’s lives. I am delighted the swimmers will also be promoting and taking part in my sport whilst out there. I am very happy to lend British Triathlons support to this appeal.”

To donate to this fantastic cause either text MELZ17 £10 to 70070 or head to www.theperfectdayfoundation.org

Introducing Perfect Day Foundation Reporter - Fridah Chinks

Sport has taught Frida invaluable lessons and inspired her to document its power as a journalist. Below is her first introduction as she tells us her story and we look forward to many more articles written by Fridah.

I USED to think sport was just about exercising and having fun but then I realised there is more to it – much, much more.

In 2012 I was part of the United Nations Organization for Sport Development and Peace Youth Camp that took place in Macolin in Switzerland. I was one of 46 participants who came from different African countries and Pakistan. Among our group we had a friend called Falastin who was from Gaza, an area devastated by conflict. Yet she told us how sport has helped children, youths and parents in her country to unite and stand against war through different sporting activities.

This made me realise how much difference I can make in my country, Zambia, on different issues such as child abuse, early pregnancies, early marriages and HIV/AIDS. I am proud to say I have been part of the life skills facilitators working with Sport in Action and it is priceless to see the changes in the participants’ lives because of the platform we give them.

Another lesson I learnt during the camp was that, regardless of where someone comes from, we all can speak one language through sport and can use it as a tool to develop ourselves and people around us. Sport is one language.

I got involved in sport at primary school education. It all started in 2009 in the Southern Province of Zambia, in Chirundu, when I was trained by Sport in Action through the Wallace Group volunteer Zambia project as a peer educator and youth football coach. It was then that my interest in sport continued to grow and I started to understand how sport could be a development tool.

From then sport has been a huge part of my life. I have been involved in different sports projects were I work with children, youths and parents from different Sport in Action placements in different communities. I have not only learnt how to play different kinds of sports, but I also made life-long friendships.

In 2014 I was picked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through the National Olympic Committee of Zambia to attend the 54th international sessions for young participants at the Olympic academy in ancient Olympia in Greece. The session was marked as a new era for world sport and accessible tool aimed at youths, in order to disseminate education and the fundamental values of the Olympic philosophy with a view to building young people’s character and improving modern society in general.

I was amused being among the 200 participants from  around the world to discuss and analyse with the help of distinguished lecturers. I got to know people from 96 countries, which was life-changing and inspiring as I always had something new to learn.

I have since taken it upon myself to be the voice of the voiceless and an ambassador for sport for development because I have enjoyed the benefits of being involved in sport. I hope you can be inspired by my story and realise your potential in bettering people’s lives through the spirit of sport, too.

PERFECT DAY JOURNALIST MAKES LOCAL NEWSPAPER

Stewart Luunga has made the pages of local Zambian newspaper, Zambia Daily Mail. Luunga is a recipient of The Perfect Day Foundation’s new journalistic mentoring scheme, where he will learn editorial skills and report on life working with Sport in Action.

Below he documents his story so far:

My name is Stewart Luunga, I’m 16 years old and I am in the 11th grade at Munali Boys Secondary School. I currently play for Team Munali under Sport in Action and I am also a child rights activist and writer.

I first joined Team Munali in 2007, when I first began training I was a lot younger than the majority of the players and I often found it difficult to compete, this meant I had to work very hard to first represent the team. I played my first tournament for Team Munali in 2011 and then went on to win my first Wallace Tournament the following season, the winning team was coached by Coach Collins and Ella Fletcher, a Zambia IDEALS student from Wales.

From the time that I joined Sport in Action I have had the opportunity to take part in a lot of activities which have helped shape me in to a responsible and ambitious individual within my community and it has also allowed me to realise my potential within other areas. I have become a source of inspiration to my fellow young people as I have managed to balance school and football.

During tournaments organised by Sport in Action we often have the opportunity to learn about different issues and gain an understanding of how to tackle them. It is through these activities that I realised my potential to write and I also became interested in becoming a journalist. In September 2014, I featured in the ‘Young and Ambitious’ column of the local newspaper; Zambia Daily Mail. After reading the article a number of people including my coaches became aware of my ambition to become a journalist. I was then given the opportunity to attend interviews whenever the media covered our events.

Since joining Sport in Action I have won ten footballing medals and I have also beencertified by Grassroots Soccer as HIV and AIDS life skills expert. I also represented Sport in Action in Lyon, France at the 2016 Street Football World Festival. Outside of football I have achieved many other great things, including; becoming a child journalist for Media Network on Child Rights and Development, becoming a junior reporter for the TV show Youth Unleashed and I have also attended a meeting with members of parliament organised by Save the Children.

Like any other young person I have dreams, ambitions and hopes. Firstly, I want to be a responsible person within my community, using my God given abilities to enhance other people’s lives. Secondly, I want to help my family, especially my parents as they have always been very supportive. Finally, I want to work hard in school so I can achieve my dream of becoming a journalist. I want to study mass communication at any education institution either locally or internationally, especially the latter.

I want to be a journalist because I feel I have a heart destined to work for the people, acting like a bridge for all people, being the voice of the voiceless, especially those in remote areas of the country. I want to be a role model for young people, so I can inspire them to follow their own dreams.

England Netball and Netball Zambia join forces

With the Netball World Cup a little over two years away, the term ‘legacy’ is already starting to be used. How do we as an organisation ensure that our home World Cup in Liverpool makes an impact worldwide? How can we improve the standard, the image and the attraction of the sport when the pinnacle event hits the North West? Well, earlier this year we took the first steps towards building this legacy when England Netball CEO Joanna Adams went over to Zambia. Here she tells us about her visit...

In my role as Chief Executive, I was kindly invited, along with UK Sport’s Kat Thew – a former Australian U21 player – to head over to the beautiful African nation of Zambia. A country with a population of over 16 million and a proud history of netball, we headed out to see how the sport is currently run and what difference we could potentially make.

The first sign of Zambian hospitality came shortly after I landed. Unfortunately my luggage had been lost in the flight from home and I was due to meet the Permanent Secretary and Sports Minister. It was deemed inappropriate that I meet them in jeans and trainers so my kind hosts’ first duty was to whisk our group off to the shopping centre to find some more appropriate apparel. This was a sign of the generosity and warmth to come.

We had incredibly helpful meetings with key figures in the Zambian sporting landscape and netball is very high up on their agenda. We discussed our ambition to use money from UK Sport to bring one of our coaches over to Africa and have them take charge of the Zambia national team, to install an infrastructure to enable a performance pathway and to help an already flourishing community netball scene in the country.

Zambia are currently ranked 15th in the world and there is a short-term ambition to get the team into the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a longer-term goal of seeing them succeed in Liverpool.

However, that is only a small part of the project. We want to help improve facilities at an elite level and from a grassroots perspective. The current national team train and play on a concrete court. To take part in official ranking matches, we need this to be converted to a wooden, sprung floor court that matches those on offer for their more prestigious international opponents. Many of the community courts are dirt patches with lines marked out in coal. These basic facilities need to be urgently improved. It is also about building a sustainable pathway; they have great talent coming through and lots of junior competition. When girls hit 16 or 17 they can play in the elite leagues and then transition into the national team. But what happens to those 17-year-old girls who don’t make the elite team? There is nothing in place. There’s no community provision for those who don’t make it, so they are losing masses of players. Although we experience some dropout, we still have loads of girls who are able to play – this is what the legacy should be. No matter what age a woman or girl may be, they should have the opportunity to play the sport.

During our visit, the Netball Association of Zambia hosted a netball event where there were hundreds of wonderful girls playing for the love of the sport. We saw youngsters playing in flip-flops or barefoot, we saw homemade netball dresses, but above all else we saw smiles. Hundreds and hundreds of smiles.

The facilities may not yet be in place but the desire and the love of the sport certainly is. From the government down to the general public there is a real drive to improve and with our guidance, we hope to help facilitate this.

The International Netball Federation currently have Joan Smit overseeing the African region and she is simply fantastic. The former Namibia international joined us for the trip and her ambition and enthusiasm is contagious. Joan knows exactly how tough netball in the region can be having represented her country at the 1991 World Cup. During that time, apartheid was still heavy in the air and Joan was forced to sit away from her teammates on the bus and had to be housed in separate accommodation for the tournament. Now, just 25 years later, her love for the sport is undiminished and she is really beating the drum on behalf of African netball for these improvements to be made. She is a truly inspiring woman.

We want to utilise people like Joan and make sure that for every step on that rung of development, we are there to help and guide them on to the next step. In the coming months we hope to have appointed a new head coach for the national team and to have organised a kit drive to send equipment out to local communities. There are lots of charities who go out into these communities and use this aid to empower young women. We hope that every girl has the opportunity to play and I would like to say that they will all have a pair of trainers in which to play the sport.

We will be following the progress of the Zambian team very closely and having visited this netball-loving nation myself, they will certainly have one more voice in the stands cheering them on in 2019.

www.englandnetball.co.uk

'Volunteer Zambia Sport' Staff Visit Lusaka

Cath Harvey from Loughborough University & Kate Hansbury from Northumbria University were lucky enough to travel out to Zambia this February to represent the ‘Volunteer Zambia’ Programme on behalf of the Wallace Group of Universities and UK Sport.

The main aim of the visit was to meet with high profile sporting organisations to enable the Wallace Group to provide greater support to the Zambian Government, and other key stakeholders in implementing an exciting new Zambian sport strategy.

To support the work of this new strategy, The Wallace Group will now provide key ‘Student Sport Development Officer’ roles, in addition to the traditional offer of coaching roles. This will help achieve the ambitions of the Wallace Group in country via the ‘Volunteer Zambia’ project and will provide increased support and expertise to the areas prioritised by the Zambians themselves.

Our focus will be to invest in building capacity within sport development. This will include supporting the development of talent pathways in key sports, coach education, officiating, leadership and wider sports volunteering. We will do this by encouraging the sharing of expertise, knowledge and experience between UK staff and students and their Zambian counterparts. Our emphasis will be on building the capacity in country to create sustainable opportunities for people to play and progress in sport.

During our visit, Sport in Action, our principal in country partner and the Ministry for Youth Sport devised a jam packed schedule for us over the course of the week.

We were lucky enough to meet with the following organizations:

Ministry for General Education

National Sports Council

Zambia National Olympic Committee

Zambia Olympic Youth Development Centre

National Heroes Stadium

The purpose of each meeting was to understand the aims and objectives of the organizations and to recognise their priorities and areas of need. We then worked together to map and place this year’s Student Sport Development Officers matched on their skills sets and experiences.

The visit was extremely beneficial from both a professional and personal point of view. We were able to work closely with Sport in Action and enhance their relationships with a number of key organisations whilst developing a robust offer to the students and staff heading out to Zambia this summer.

We implemented a placement pro forma within each organisation, and developed an achievable work programme for each student and staff. We will share this at the annual ‘Volunteer Zambia’ induction in April. This was coordinated in conjunction with Sport in Action who will continue to communicate with the identified organisation.

From a personal stand, it was a huge privilege to meet with organisations who share the same passion and drive to develop sport. They are working tirelessly to develop opportunities and experiences for children to participate, which mirrors our vision of ‘developing people, inspiring a nation’.

Overall, the trip was an amazing experience and opened our eyes to the opportunities that are available to us as a group. Not only have we strengthened the work we deliver in Zambia, we have created the opportunity for more collaboration with key stakeholders. We recognise the invaluable experience it will give to all of the people involved, including students, staff and key stakeholders. It is an exciting time for the ‘Volunteer Zambia’ project – one which Bessie Chelemu, Director of Sport in Zambia, gives her support wholeheartedly!

Akende Graduates after 5 years hard work

Children in the United Kingdom enjoy free education from Primary school all of the through to the end of College. Sadly, this is not a luxury the children of Zambia have. School here is free from Grades 1 – 7 (5-12 years) but parents are expected to fund school uniforms, shoes, books and other associated equipment, this is usually out of reach for most families which means children are unable to attend school. A sad reality. For the past 5 past years The Perfect Day Foundation have been working diligently to bridge the gap. During this period over 40 children have successfully finished school or are currently in education.

Akende has been a participant of Sport in Action for over 7 years, within Munali. Over this period, he has proven himself to be a reliable and confident participant who is now intrusted to coach the Munali boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams. For many years he has aspired to be a doctor, so he is able to give back to his family and community. In 2013 The Perfect Day Foundation agreed to sponsor Akende and give him the opportunity to follow his dreams. On Friday 23rd September 2016 I was given the honour of attending Akende’s Graduation, representing The Perfect Day Foundation. Words cannot not describe the feeling of pride and accomplishment that beamed from his face as he received his diploma. The whole ceremony was beautiful and well attended by hundreds of proud friends and family.

Education is something that can, sometimes, be taken for granted in the United Kingdom. Each morning is a struggle to get children up and ready for their day of learning. But not here. I have witnessed first-hand the effort and commitment children put into each and every day at school. Watching children enter their school gates, brushing of the dust from their uniforms, shoes and books so they’re well-presented and prepared for their day of learning, is a touching and inspirational sight. You might be asking yourself how much it costs to fund a child through school. Not as much as you might think. To fund a child through school it costs around £140 a year. This pays for: School fees – Grades 8 - 12 Exam fees Uniform Shoes School Equipment – Books, pens etc. The £140 is a higher estimate than expected. Each school has different school fees, that can affect the overall expenditure.

Do you think you could help a child get a quality education? If you do, Joe Dale is currently heading up this fantastic initiative. Please feel free to contact him, he will gladly send you an information pack.

Email – theperfectdayfoundation@gmail.com

Bath Construction Students Return Home

The Bath Construction team are now home from Lusaka after their trip to build sustainable facilities across the city. Read on to find out how sucessful they were on their project...

During the summer of 2016, six students from the University of Bath were chosen to take part in the design and construction of much needed sporting facilities around the Zambian capital of Lusaka. Three sites were chosen for the project, these included Munali, Mtendere and the Olympic Youth Development Centre.

Munali High School’s two existing courts were in dire need of resurfacing in order to support coaching and improve player performance. The construction team itself fundraised close to £4,000 which covered the cost of the two volleyball courts. This was achieved through a sponsored 100km bike ride, a bake sale, mini golf event and raffles as well as the generosity of industrial sponsors/donors including; Wentworth House, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Kelly and Keith Hunter and friends raised the funds for a multipurpose court at Mtendere. Kelly, who had previously volunteered with IDEALs, wanted to give something back to this inspirational school and the team were incredibly grateful for both of their support. The court surface had been in a poor condition and not necessarily fit for use but as a result of the resurfacing works there has been a huge improvement to both the school and its sporting facilities. The team were tasked with designing and constructing the countries first ever Beach Volleyball Court at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Zambia. It is expected that the court will have significant impact on both the participation and performance level of the sport, with eyes on converting talent into Olympic hopes. The Beach Volleyball Court was a significant investment which was funded by a variety of institutions and charities, including; the Wallace Group Universities, The Perfect Day Foundation and Volleyball England. Each sponsor was incredibly accommodating and the project would not have happened without their overwhelming generosity.

The construction was managed by the team but executed by local Zambian contractors. Working with local contractors was challenging at times due to differences in working practises however, the team successfully developed good working relationships in order to solve problems and produce quality results. The team were in Zambia for 6 weeks and during this time both the Munali and Mtendere courts were completed. The Beach Volleyball Court is still under construction with the unavoidable delay as a result of external factors, such as the election, with 15 days lost out of the total 35. Whilst visiting Zambia it was not all work and no play as the team were lucky enough to visit the Victoria Falls in Livingstone as well as being taken on safari in Botswana, both of which were truly once in a lifetime opportunities.

The team have now sadly left Lusaka, but have learnt a lot from the experience and hope that the initiative will continue for years to come. The team are keen to continue their support and have pledged to work alongside the Wallace Group and the University of Bath in order to enable next year’s team to build on both our work and lessons learnt.

2016 Student Placement Reviews

Every alumni knows the placement they were a part of was the best. Read on to find out why the 2016 students felt their placements gave them the greatest experiences of their lives...

St. Patrick’s

"St Patricks, an all-girls school full of excited children just wanting to get involved. Never before have children given us such a warm welcome. Aside from some of the school rules this place is amazing. These children study hard and get involved in sport purely because they love it. The smiles on these girl’s faces are infectious. Every day you walk out the gate with a smile from ear to ear. We didn’t have to be coaching to feel that were making a difference as soon as we walked through the gate the girls ran up wanting us to play. All the peer leaders at St. Patricks have been amazing especially with the issues they have to face. Every session ran smoothly and both us and the girls left there feeling positive. It’s been a pleasure spending our week days there for the past 6 weeks. This is definitely a place we will remember."

"St Patricks is a challenging placement but a very much rewarding one. It is a relatively new site to Sport in Action and so the groundwork continues to be laid. There is netball, football, volleyball and handball for girls aged U15 and U17. We only spend a short time in the mornings there taking only one morning session four times a week. This session is supposed to be 1.5hours however it is often usually about 45minutes due to the girls having to change and go to class. Numbers at sessions are also quite small, usually 10-15 per group, as many of the girls’ parents do not allow them to participate. We have also had issues with numbers due to exams and holidays where the girls would not bother coming into school to train. This was a challenge for us as we would often go to the session and have no girls in attendance. Due to St Patricks being a private school, academia is pushed heavily and sport is less important. Thus, many of the girls simply do not want to train or participate. Despite this, when girls have attended the sessions, they have been attentive, enthusiastic and eager to play."

Fountain of Hope

"Fountain of Hope, a place which truly makes Africa feel like home, one large family. A place where you’ll never want to leave, it’s been great been a part of the family and embarking on journey which is unforgettable. The children at fountain are so inspirational, boys wearing the same top day in day put for 6 weeks, playing football daily with no shoes, always helping and never complaining. We came here to help the children but we have learnt more from them than they have from us, you never know what the days will bring as each day is different but all are positive, exciting and incredible. Steven and his team are the most inspiring individuals you’ll ever meet. They’re always there to help even if it has nothing to do with the task in hand. All four of the peer leaders at this site are amazing and we can’t fault them one bit. It is incredible to see how much of a difference the Wallace group makes and we are so proud to be a part of it. This program is changing these young children’s life and we won’t be leaving the project any time soon."

"Words cannot do this placement justice. As a coach at Fountain, Steven will instantly make you feel like family, and within a few days you will be referring to Fountain as your home. The peer leaders there are such friendly and welcoming people and you will become great friends with them. The netball girls all look up to you as their big sister and all the football boys truly respect your knowledge and what you have to teach them. Every-day they will all each personally greet you and ask how you are, making you feel so part of the Fountain family and Kamwala community. Netball runs before football, so the football student will just play with the kids, read in the library, cook nshima whilst the netball student is coaching. Football runs after the netball session and is situated at a pitch just across the road from Fountain. Up to 80 boys and girls will attend the afternoon football sessions and will all cooperate and take part in whatever the session is, no questions asked. The amount of respect and kindness the children have at Fountain of Hope makes it truly a pleasure to coach there. The placement is an incredible site and will remain in our hearts forever."

Kalingalinga

"When arriving in Kalingalinga the first thing you notice is a painted wall stating ‘ KTown, the heart of Lusaka’. A bold statement but it only takes a matter of days to understand the meaning behind this. If you’re looking to leave Zambia with a new extended family, then KTown will not disappoint. The placement itself offers a large dirt/ dust 11 a-side football pitch which is effectively marked out with coal when needed. At the top end is a concrete netball court which doubles as a great space for PE. Due to the location of the facilities it also doubles up as the school playground, community hang-out and the central meeting point for KTown residents. This offers a diverse and ever changing environment. All the schools are within walking distance from the pitch and court allowing some fascinating journeys across K Town. The you children work with, both in training and PE have a good understanding of English, and they’re always willing to teach you Nanja. If you’re lucky enough to work alongside Gracious or Moses this will maximise your time in KTown. They are fantastic peer leaders linked through Edusport and will always go the extra mile for you. Kalingalinga offers a very busy but very rewarding timetable in a community filled with the biggest hearts and smiles. ‘Aspire to inspire’"

"K-town has a lot of sporting talent, we focused primarily on football throughout the 6 weeks however there is still opportunity to do netball and volleyball. The K-town pitch is used by many different teams and is open to the community, this makes a friendly environment for children and coaches to work on. We work with Kalingalinga Primary, Sylvia’s School, Highlands School and Mama Stella’s school. Most of our work however was done with Kalingalinga Primary School and we went to the other schools once per week, this allowed us to perform activities with a different age group of children. K-Town Primary is a traditional school which has many classes ranging in age groups compared to the other schools which have younger children and fewer classrooms. K-town has two main peer leaders which we have worked with; Moses and Gracious. Moses is the site co-ordinator and is there less frequent than Gracious, he coaches netball and takes PE lessons when needed. Gracious is the peer leader who is at placement every day and overseas the activity around the placement, he coaches the under 10’s, 12’s, 15’s and 19’s football as well as teaching the PE lessons. K-town could do with more peer leaders attending the placement to allow Gracious to have more time to work on other things such as his business. This also would create more role models for the children and will improve their skill in sport. There are potential peer leaders within the teams but they need to be influenced and trained in order to become a peer leader for other generations. K-town overall, is an amazing placement; it keeps you busy and is very rewarding!"

"First of all, what a fascinating six weeks. I have learnt an incredible amount about myself, about the students and staff that I have shared a house with, and about the place that I have called home during my time in Zambia – Kalingalinga. K-town is quite rightly labelled the heart of Lusaka, and the heart of the placement are its two outstanding peer leaders, Gracious and Moses. The former is the most committed volunteer that I have ever met, he has devoted the past 14 years of his life to this place and there is no sign that such dedication will let up anytime soon. I can say quite confidently that my experience of Zambia and of the programme has been enhanced by Gracious providing me with the opportunity to coach five of his youth teams, as well as Africa on the Ball and another local men’s team who are permanently managed by a coach who Gracious has been working with for a number of years. I am incredibly thankful for the latter opportunities especially, as managing Africa on the Ball has been the overriding highlight of my time at Kalingalinga, and has undoubtedly developed me as a person and as a leader. For all of the positives, I must note that I do have a fear for the long-term future of K-town, as Moses’ involvement has dwindled since he started working a few weeks ago, and, even though Gracious has been the heartbeat of football at this placement, there is only so much that he can do without the support of others around him, and with the lack of true potential peer leaders who could replace him should this be required in the future. I have huge hopes for a number of the children and Africa on the Ball players for the years to come, and there is no doubt that I will stay in touch with so many of the people I have worked with over the past six weeks. I am proud to be a member of the K-town family."

Chipata

"Chipata is an incredible placement. The six weeks I have spent here have been amazing, some of the best weeks of my life. A large part of this is due to my placement. Chipata is one of the few placements where you only coach at one school. Although some would argue this can be a limitation I believe it to be a strength because it allows you to really get to know the children and the school you are working in. It is one of the most chaotic environments to work in with children constantly running through your sessions and usually at least fifty children hanging around. This can create issues at times but also makes every day different, exciting and challenging. Like every placement there are issues that need to be faced but these are the obstacles that drive the project forward and overcoming them is one of the things that makes this project so valuable in improving Zambian sport. Chipata is an excellent learning opportunity for any coaches keen to throw themselves into Zambian culture, the five day a week schedule makes it one of the most demanding placements but also one of the most rewarding. I guarantee if you come to Chipata you will have one of the best experiences of your life and will leave a better coach and a better person."

"Chipata is a lovely placement. Everyone there is so friendly and wants to learn all about you and get to know you. You can coach all four sports at Chipata and if you get the chance we would recommend trying them all. The compound is enclosed although be prepared to see kids climbing over and through the walls to come to training, they will not fall don’t worry! Bensen and Emmanuel will be your two main points of contact, although there are other peer leaders there. Together you will set out your goals for your time at Chipata and will review them half way through and at the end. The main challenge you will face at Chipata is timing and punctuality. This is improving in football and basketball although netball and volleyball really struggle and you may end up only coaching one hour out of the two hour session. During school term, there are morning sessions in place as part of the school P.E. program. These are used to introduce pupils to sport and help to reach the overall aim of increasing participation in sport - particularly for girls. These sessions still need some work and direction. A planned curriculum would benefit them greatly. During school holidays, morning sessions will be a struggle. You will have to be persistent in ensuring that they will take place so as to maximise your time at Chipata. Basketball is running well, has a good structure and pathway for the children to get into it. It competes at a high level with weekly leagues running. SIA Scorpions regularly perform well at Wallace and have potential for national players, especially the girls although they do not have training times so they join in with the boys when they are available. Netball is still in the development stages. They have struggled to find a consistent coach although have some great talent and potential. The under 15 girls is the only team and improved from last place in the first Wallace tournament to 4th place in the second. The hope is that some of these girls will want to take up coaching and will help to develop an under 12 team. Girls in Action is a struggle in Chipata. It is hard to find a time that suits the girls that does not eat into their training time. The sessions themselves need some help in delivery and creating new ways to deliver the content. They are not regular sessions and will require some work. Chipata is often the furthest away placement but is completely worth the travel. All the kids are so willing to learn and are a lot of fun to be around and play with. I would recommend to anyone to go there. There is a nursery there as well so if you like younger children to play with while you wait to coach Chipata is the place for you."

Mtendere

"Tia mama ti ende (clap) – I’m touched. Mtendere is home. Walking through the compound every day to get to the different sites of our placement made us understand the Zambian way until it became second nature. Buses, market, drunk alley, … children running from all sides – Mtendere is a buzzing pot/ spot filled with life and smiles. Even once we were used to the way of life in Mtendere everyday was a new experience. Whether it was the Zam time schedule or the very entertaining kids at the community school, everything came well together at the end of each day. Due to each sport, volleyball, football and netball, all being situated at least a 20 minute walk apart meant we soon learned our way about the compound. Again, this meant communication with peer leaders and placement partners needed to be regular for the sake of our safety and success in our sessions. Mtendere has become a second home to us. Different from other placements, we had the opportunity to work within the streets of Lusaka itself, leaving us interacting often with Zambian people in addition to children. Balance things on your head, sit on chickens in buses, and greet everyone and, like us, become a part of the Mtendere family."

"You will be greeted by love and happiness every day that you head to this school. The crazy buses, the bustling market and the infamous drunken alley will provide you with countless stories and memories to return home with. The way of life in Mutendere compound can only be described as chaotic, but this is definitely a good thing; life is not boring. The children are all so bright and eager to learn and will love to see you dancing about and making a fool of yourself. Each of the sport locations are situated away from the school (except netball) and so it is important to always have your days planned with the peer leaders to ensure that you are safe and not walking to the pitches on your own. Be prepared for Zam time to take effect and for your sessions to never start or go as you planned and so have a few extra drills or games up your sleeve in case there are more children than you expected or that the equipment has mysteriously gone missing – adaptability is key. This year there has been a fantastic new netball court built outside of the school which everyone is delighted with as previously netball was played on a rocky sandy space. You will love every minute of this happy and friendly placement, and when the time comes you will most definitely not want to leave."

"Simple and elegant, the self-contained community within Mutendere blossoms with each and every child who arrives with excitement and anticipation. Bordering the bustling markets, the tranquil safe haven of Mutendere Community School is an oasis of opportunities. The new netball court is home to a vast array of activity for all, delivered with joy and a welcoming vibrancy."

Munali

"Munali Secondary School has the best facilities in all of the placements, two football pitches, a track, a brand new volleyball court and a netball and basketball court. The peer leaders are Aaron, Akende, Owen, Sammy and Newton. The best peer leaders I know and have loved working with them. The children are always happy and eager to learn and play sport at all times and train every afternoon when school is on. Some of the girls are late (netball) but no more than an hour, the netball teams are U15 and U17. There are U10, U12, U15 and U17 and girls football teams that also train every day. The level of ability is very high in Munali, higher than other placements which was challenging but manageable. The netball teams are full of mixed ability but still at a very high standard. The sportsmanship of all teams in Munali needs to be encouraged rather than a ‘win at all cost attitude’ which reflects badly on the teams and leaves the children very upset."

"Dusty, yet beautiful- Munali is the heart of Lusaka, offering an array of opportunities. It is home to a diverse mix of people, ensuring there is never a dull moment. The people, as much as the scenery, make Munali a great place to coach. With overwhelming passion, joy and excitement, the children flock in with such bright and welcoming smiles ready to get going with whatever is on offer."

Review of the new Fountain of Hope Kitchen Refurbishment

Fountain of Hope has been the focus of a number of projects supported by Perfect Day Foundation and the Wallace Group of Universities. Staff member Simon Carey has been to review the latest upgrade in the kitchen

What has impressed me most about my visits to Fountain during my time in Lusaka is the vibrancy of the place. From the quiet library to the hustle of the playground and joy of learning in the classrooms, the centre is always busy. You cannot help but be impacted on by this. For a number of years the residents at the orphanage and the orphanage and local street children have been reliant on the food provided by the project. The traditional Zambian dish of nshima was cooked outdoors, on charcoal stoves. Nshima is everywhere in Zambia, consisting of a maize and water based carbohydrate, often mixed with vegetables or even fish and caterpillars! It’s not too dissimilar from porridge and is incredibly filling. Speaking from personal experience cooking shima in 30 degree heat on an open fire is not for the faint hearted and incredibly tough work! Currently the volunteers at fountain have to cook 6 different batches of shima throughout the day to serve 150 – 200 meals 3 times a day. Each batch takes at least an hour to cook from scratch.

Friday the 22nd of July, marked the official opening of the new kitchen and dining room complex at the Fountain of Hope placement. It wouldn’t be a Zambian celebration without the singing and dancing all afternoon as the children embraced the fantastic new facility. It would only be right to take a moment to thank the fantastic sponsors: St Andrew’s University, St Robert of Newminster School and sixth Form College, Durham University and the Perfect Day Foundation. These organizations have worked diligently to provide a safe, clean and welcoming space for literally hundreds of children to attend. I’ve seen first-hand the environment and equipment that was being used before they were upgraded. The completion of this project opens the door for the centre to positively affect more and more children and keep the food programs that are such a lifeline to the community sustainable for years to come. The funds raised have enabled two brand new cooking pots to be installed. The new pots are capable of cooking the entire days food in one go, tripling the capacity of the project to feed local street children and the children in their care. Not only this but the new electric cookers won’t be reliant on charcoal fuel and the nshima can be cooked inside in the newly refurbished kitchen which includes new space to store everything the centre needs. The extensive work provides a sanitary and modern facility that should help the centre grow and reach even more children in the community.

In conjunction with the kitchen refurbishment the dining room project has added a fantastic new space to eat and socialize. With a capacity for over 150 as well as fully functioning sinks for hand washing and clean up; the room provides a tranquil space to eat, away from negative distractions outside the centre.

Mel Marshall Coaches Peaty to Olympic Gold

Sport in Action Ambassador, Mel Marshall, is revelling in the glory of coaching British breast stroke swimmer Adam Peaty to Olympic Gold in the 100 metres at the Rio Olympic Games. Peaty brought home GB's first gold of the games in the early hours of the UK morning, beating his own World Record for the second time at the games. In 2012 Mel Marshall lead a team of fundraisers which included Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Addlington, on a sponsored bike ride from Livingstone to Lusaka, raising £35000 for Sport in Action. That money has since funded the creation of a sporting facility in the Lusaka suburb of Kabwata which will include a basketball, netball, beach volleyball court and office block once it's complete later this year.

Mel isn't stopping here. She is already planning another event in 2017 that will see her and a team complete four consecutive days of 10 hours of sport in towns around Zambia, ending at the Olympic Youth Development Centre. Early suggestions are that Adam may be joining her but watch this space for more information and how to support their challenge. In the meantime Perfect Day Foundation extend our biggest congratulations to Adam and Mel and we are thrilled that their hard work and dedication over the last seven years have paid off. A true inspiration to all.

Loughborough Executive Director Visits Zambia

We were absolutely delighted when John Steele, Executive Director of Sport at Loughborough University recently travelled to Zambia to undertake a review of performance sport to be shared with the Zambian Government. Even more pleasing for us was that his wife and his twin daughters also travelled with him and Esme and Zoe spent ten days working out on Sport In Action sites. Their story is well worth reading and our thanks to them for their wonderful in-put.

We’ve had the most amazing experience in Zambia. 10 days has never gone by so quickly, greatly influenced by the lovely company of staff and students. Our itinerary was packed, and started with a truck tour of all the different placements from Kalingalinga to Chipata, which was a great first taste of what the next 10 days would hold. With smiling faces everywhere we went, and many songs,(most notably ‘I have the ball’ and ‘Mango Tree’), we knew this would be an incredible experience. It’s hard to extract all the highlights from such an experience but here are some that stood out.

Muntanderre was our first placement experience. We started with a morning of PE, which included parachute games and a discussion led by the peer leaders about the dangers of smoking for individuals and wider society. It was clear that educational discussions like these were no rarity; and we were both happy to see that the children from such a young age were able to discuss such issues and offer their opinions and worries in a safe environment. After the PE, Esme helped with the netball coaching. This was challenging, as not only was the peer leader absent due to illness but it was the first day of placement. That made it hard to get some drills running due to some lack of understanding with strategic play.

However, towards the end of the session the girls were much more confident and it was rewarding to see the improvements in their netball. Zoe helped out with the football (a good few kilometres walk away!) and was amazed to see how both seven year olds and seventeen year olds alike would play with each other in a competitive but friendly environment; something that is rare in the UK. A highlight being their hunger to learn, as well as the session’s inclusive nature to both genders.

Perhaps the most eye opening placement for us, was Chinarma Special School, due to the fact that despite some children coping with significant disabilities, every single one wanted to participate in some way and help one another. It was here at Chinarma, that we met a young set of twin girls called Seawu and Seawo, who insisted on holding our hands which was a very special moment for us as we are twin girls ourselves. We also spent a morning at The Fountain of Hope in their library, reading to some children and being read to in return. This was an interesting highlight because we were able to witness how IDEALS helps communities in Lusaka through diverse ways as well as sport.

As keen sportswomen ourselves; (Esme’s focus in hockey and Zoe’s in athletics), we were lucky enough to spend a few days coaching hockey at Zambia’s Olympic Youth Development Centre. Our first session was really challenging, due to only having two balls and one stick! This was an exciting challenge; one which we met by inventing a new drill ‘The volley game’, promoting competitive spirit, team encouragement, skills and good use of equipment. Later in the week, we revisited OYDC when the coaches and equipment were available and Esme helped coach the older more advanced children and Zoe helped coach the beginners. Both groups proved tricky due to the language barrier and the diverse range of abilities; for instance in Zoe’s group some individuals struggled to hold a stick whilst others could do more advanced skills such as ‘V drags’. However it was incredible to be a part of the Zambian talent pathway for hockey as well as seeing the joy on the children’s faces after they had mastered the task or skill.

Our Lusaka experience developed beyond the placements and deep into Zambian culture. The staple food of Zambia is nshima and we were lucky enough to take part in the gruelling cooking of it at The Fountain of Hope! It can only be described as trying to mix concrete! We were able to try nshima at Zambian Night back at the house, along with other traditional cuisine such as chicken, rice dishes and caterpillars (our opinions were split on these!). It was also great to be able to chat to peer leaders one on one, to learn more about their personal backgrounds and their pathway to what they do now; many having progressed from being a child at one of the placements. It was a bonus to experience the buzzing markets and buy some classic Zambian trousers and souvenirs. The Zambian buses were an entire experience by themselves; with the cramped seating, bartering and lively conductors.

On reflection we thought that perhaps some improvements could be made. For instance the younger children within the PE sessions could suggest what to do themselves; for instance choosing a topic to speak and learn about which is bothering them at home or taking charge over which games to play. This would possibly allow a clearer gateway for the children to become peer leaders themselves in the future if they wish. Another improvement which we thought could be implemented was putting up a noticeboard in the school showing what sports sessions will be run that fortnight; allowing the children and coaches to have a clear understanding about the activities and timings of each session, (could help with zamtime!).

We truly enjoyed our experience out in Zambia. The great company, the culture and seeing the fantastic work the IDEALS program has set in motion. We think it is fair to say that our ten days out in Lusaka has us hooked on the possibility of being IDEALS students ourselves in the future, if the opportunity arose.

ZIKOMO,

Esme and Zoe

Peter Warburton’s 2016 Report

Peter has just returned from his annual trip, this time a five day whirlwind trip that took in students on placement, meetings with NGOs, OYDC and got up to speed on work continuing between the government's minsitry for sport and UK national governing bodies.

I have just returned from an amazing five days in Zambia. I had the great pleasure of being accompanied by the Wallace Group's new operational lead and general legend Stephen Stewart and his boss Professor Verity Brown. Verity was wonderful company and is now yet another person who has fallen in love with Zambia and its people. It was an action packed five days in which we were able to put in context the great work Sport in Action is now doing for so many young people! There were many moving moments in my short stay and it was yet another visit I will never forget. Outlined below is a summary of our five days that will hopefully bring you all up to date with the work going on at the moment!

So how did it all unfold? One of our first stops was to Fountain of Hope and the opening of the new kitchen. Work there has been impressive and we had a wonderful half hour with the children during the official handover. Thanks to St Roberts, St Andrew's and Durham University for making this possible. It is easy to see why this new development will make a world of difference - see the Twitter account of the Perfect Day and Wallace Group for pictures of the opening.

The toilets were in goodish order although Stacy is working on some final repairs and the food programme is feeding well over three hundred meals a day. What really stood out was to see every classroom full, the library in action and loads of sport going on. This would not have been the case if one went back only 5/6 years - thank you to all.

Friday night was something completely different as we travelled out to Clement's house to see Clement's mother who had been ill. We did have the pleasure of seeing his mother, who is a lot better thankfully, but we also had a huge party. It was a very humbling experience but my thanks to Clement and all involved - a night never to forget! We were entertained by the up and coming folk singer of Zambia and the band that is often asked to play for the Country's President. I got to see many people I have got to know over the last thirteen years in Zambia which was fantastic. The media was well represented and we were even joined by the captain of the African cup soccer winning team of 2012. A very special and enjoyable occasion. Thank you Clement!

The following morning Stephen and I had twenty minutes on live TV - live TV in Zambia is a little different to the UK but a great experience as always. No information of which camera to look into nor any suggestion of questions before the interview - we weren't for example expecting to answer a question as to who should be the next manager of the national soccer team!!!

We then visited the IDEALS house where everyone was full of the joys of Zambia - a great group of students in group 2 doing an excellent job! It was then off to meet with St Robert's lower sixth students at the Durham /Northumbria house. They too have done an impressive job on the ground and left behind a donation of £4000 to upgrade the toilets and showers at Munali and to help with sport equipment at UTH as well as helping Sylvia, who was originally from Fountain of Hope, through her nursing college course – brilliant!

We visited KTown, one of the great EduSport sites, and could only stand back and watch in amazement at the hundreds of children involved in sport. The children playing netball were being coached by a paying member of the national team – inspirational!

Whilst we were on the ground in country the student engineers from Bath arrived and we travelled with them to Munali where they will upgrade the volleyball courts with money they have raised back in the UK - great job! Another site packed with children playing sport and as with KTown our students were doing a great job! Sammy continues to be the site coordinator here and continues to do a great job – his under 17 soccer side is top of their league and if they stay there they will get promoted into the under 19 league. (For the record at this level you can then sell players).

It was then off to Mtendere where the engineers will work with local contractors to put in a new netball court - the money for this has been raised by alumni Kelly Williams and she will be arriving in a few weeks to put the final touches in place - another great job! For those of you who know this site it is now fully surrounded by a wall making it much more conducive for education.

It was then finally off to OYDC to meet with their team and to look at the site for the beach volleyball court funded by many of our partners and to be delivered by the Bath students.

Another site we visited was the under construction Kabwata - about five minutes from the Sport in Action offices. This site will contain a basketball court, netball court, a beach volleyball court feeding the OYDC, a play area and an office, showers, toilets and changing. The hugely respected Mwape will be based out of this site which has been made possible by Mel Marshall and her team who cycled from Livingstone to Lusaka raising the required funds.

Stephen and Verity headed off to Chongwe as I did some local visits on my last day.

There were of course lots of meetings. We had the pleasure of meeting Michael, EduSport's CEO, and were able to catch up on their programmes. They have plans for a community hub on land they have purchased approximately a twenty minute drive from Lusaka

Frank continues to lead Sport in Action incredibly professionally and George does a simply amazing job organising their many projects. They have promised to outline their many different projects for me and I will post these on the web pages when I receive them - if anyone had any doubt about the impact Sport in Action has on the ground you really shouldn't have - they grow year on year and the senior team, the site coordinators and peer leaders continue to do a superb job. Whilst we are working with Sport in Action and the Government on performance programmes everyone can be assured that the numbers involved in grass roots sport remains almost off the scale and will always be at the heart of our work!

We were unable to meet with the Permanent Secretary and Besse, (Director of Sport), as they were both elsewhere in Zambia during our visit but the Wallace Group are now inextricably tied into the Government's agenda for sport as seen with our involvement in volleyball alongside England Volleyball, Zambia volleyball and UKSport- all very exciting!

We did of course spend time with the inspirational Clement Chileshe who has a huge challenge in trying to generate income to run OYDC. Their Olympic funding runs out in the next few years. Clement was the first person I met when I arrived in Zambia in 2004 - he was the last person I saw before getting on my plane to return to the UK this year alongside the ever present and totally reliable George. A huge personal thanks to Stacy Porter, Durham University staff member, who is out there for four months and is doing a fantastic job in ensuring all our structures and monitoring systems are improved for the future whilst working with staff members who arrive every three weeks to work with our students.

This was a hand over trip for me as Tim Garfield has taken over the strategic lead and Stephen Stewart has taken over the operational lead. I will be moving over to work with the Board of 'The Perfect Day Charity' to see how we can continue to help with the funding support for Sport In Action and their projects and how we can improve our communications with alumni, colleagues and friends back in the UK. You can see from the above that it is all going quite well in terms of new builds and refurbs. Maybe an understatement!

Hopefully soon we will be able to tell you all about Mel Marshall's next big adventure in Zambia. Mel is the sporting ambassador for Sport in Action and hopes to be back out there in August of 2017.

For me it has been a wonderful and inspirational journey where I have had the opportunity to meet so many inspirational people. It is far from the end for me and my great hope going forwards is that we can continue to engage people back in the UK through our charities in this incredible country that is Zambia.

My sincere thanks to all who continue to do amazing things for Zambia and to our Zambian friends long may you continue to do so many wonderful things!

Peter Warburton

Building Sustainable Facilities

Building sports facilities has been part of the IDEALs programme in previous years, but this year undergraduate engineering students from the University of Bath have joined up to develop the country's first ever beach volleyball court as just one of three new facilities.

This year, UK Sport will be extending its initiative of International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport (IDEALS) when in July a team of six students from the University of Bath’s department of Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE) will be travelling to Zambia to take part in the construction of new recreational facilities. Whilst in Zambia the team will be designing and constructing the first beach volleyball court in Zambia at the Olympic Youth Development Centre and resurfacing two community pitches at Mutendere and Munali. This work will address the shortage of quality facilities for community and sport development and will also ensure the continued success of the IDEALS programme.

A project of this scale will provide the team with the opportunity to apply knowledge from their degrees and industrial placements as well as present them with new and unfamiliar challenges. The team are however keen to expand their creative problem solving skills as they adapt to working within a developing country. By working in alongside local contractors the team are aiming to share knowledge and experiences from prior work on sites in the UK, particularly in aspects of health, safety and the environment.

The team are currently fundraising to support the resurfacing of the community pitches at Mutendere and Munali with a total target of £4,000. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to the project, please visit our Facebook page (ACE 2 Zambia), send us an e-mail a2z@bath.ac.uk or donate at http://www.justgiving.com/ACE-2-Zambia

Loughborough Director of Sport Visits Zambia

The IDEALS Project has always been an experience with reciprocal development opportunities for both British students and Zambian volunteers and staff. Tim Garfield reflects on the scale of impact the programme has on the students that Loughborough select to take part in this extraordinary programme.

Thanks to the generous support of UK Sport and the charity International Inspiration this summer the Wallace Group of British Universities (Bath, Cardiff, Durham, Loughborough, Northumbria, St Andrews and Stirling) will be sending another 35+ student coaches out to Zambia for the 11th consecutive year.

If previous years are anything to go by the outlook for many of those students will be changed forever. Most will go on to recall the time they spent in Africa as personally life shaping.

Despite accumulating substantial debt in paying for their own higher education they will find themselves unable to resist sponsoring the education of Zambians half their age. They will be moved to the core by these kids who have no material assets; no mobiles, no gadgets, no shoes, and in the worst cases no parents and no roofs over their young heads.

Poverty and HIV has proved to be merciless. Yet this is not a journey into misery and despair. Despite the obvious material disadvantages these are not children with no hopes, dreams or futures. Quite the contrary, these are children with optimism and enthusiasm. They yearn for education, they look out for each other, have a love of sport and display real talents.

Their evident social skills, the unquestioning acceptance of caring responsibilities at ridiculously young ages, and the very different cultural values does at first sight appear paradoxical, as do their smiles, friendliness, and warmth. These youngsters quickly form bonds with our coaches the extent of which most will not have previously experienced.

Our students will ask 'how can they have so little yet be so grateful? ' This is a journey of self discovery, a time of reflection, of joy and of tears. The burning desire to help, to make a difference, to makes things better. How do they deal with the injustice they experience? How do they make sense of the contradictions they have never previously had reason to confront? What sort of person does this cause them to want to be?

Thus we impact the values and perspectives of our future citizens and our future workforce. They will be forever grateful for the lessons they learn that makes them the people they go on to be. More culturally aware, 'international', resilient, resourceful, respectful, caring, humble and grateful are all expressions commonly shared at the end of this annual adventure; though many will return to refresh and remind themselves of the treasures they discovered in Zambia and in themselves.

So to my journey. A 35 year career now in it's twilight, and littered with personality profiles, leadership development programs, personal development plans and awareness training . But where does my passion for the power of sport to change lives come from? I know I have been trotting it out over the past 4 decades, but what do the words really mean to me, deep down, in my heart?

Zambia has trumped all that training and development experience in this personal journey of self discovery. It has caused me to revisit my values, my drivers and what gets me up in the morning, causing me to question why I do what I do and what difference my efforts make.

There is no questions our collective interventions, and this includes UK Sport facilitating a significant number of NGB development officers working alongside our staff and students, has made a substantial difference to young Zambians lives, especially girls. Giving them the opportunity to discover themselves through the joy of sport. For a few, as in our system, real talent has emerged. Two such girls competed for Zambia in the Netball World Cup in Australia last year.

This 10 year journey has thus built substantial social capital in people and in organisations. Sport in Action (our in-country NGO partner) is now a mature and competent community focussed body that truly understands both sport for development and sports development. It is tangible evidence of the creation of both social and sporting capital. We now have a Zambian Government that clearly understands and wants to capitalise on the value of sport as contributor to quality of life and national pride. But there are also some significant weak links that need more support.

Last summer our desire for a 10th anniversary celebration became a 2 day National Sports Development Conference in Lusaka which engaged all the key stakeholders in Zambian society and sport. The outcomes from that conference now provide the platform for our next 10 years of work in Zambia.

This next decade will build on what has gone before but it will focus more on how we support the leadership journey of the Zambians who will be responsible for delivering sport in their country, be that podium, pathway or participation success. It will be for them to decide the priorities and for us to find creative ways to help them achieve. We will still be sending students, but the focus will be on building the capacity of the Zambians who will deliver a sustainable infrastructure for sport in Zambia.

Building this capacity is what will make the greatest and most sustainable difference to the sporting prospects of young Zambians.

And on a personal level, the knowledge that I am in some small way helping them to achieve is helping me feel at ease with myself.

View from an NGB

National governing bodies for several sports including netball and basketball have worked closely with the IDEALS programme. Here, Volleyball England CEO, Lisa Wainwright, is transported back to her Zambian memories as she commutes to work.

Another day, another consultation on sport and a train journey to London…..witnessing our busy world rush by. The cost of the journey far more than the £100 plus paid for the train, the value of the day, only time will tell. I reflect on the recent visit to Zambia and the happy, smiley faces of the hundreds of children waving and jostling to gain a glimpse of us, two new white guests in their villages – no smiles on the 6.56am from Market Harborough to London…

With so little so much can be achieved, the rolled up bunch of old plastic shopping bags, yes the ones we are paying 5p for – are excitedly tied together to form the fabulous match ball for the local match between the youngsters, the netball court of dust and glass, (from the bottles left the night before), the charcoal lines and donated Northumbria University kit – this is sport, this is the survival of the fittest at its best and this is real fun. The sheer enthusiasm and clear talent of the Zambian youngsters is what shocks me more than the lack of equipment and kit, their determination to practice. I bet three kids playing volleyball in front of the rubbish tip that they wouldn’t be able to do 20 volleys…70 later – clearly I was wrong, and their delight at a Volleyball England pin badge was something to be seen – not quite the response you get a the Volleyball World Congress as the 100th badge is exchanged between Presidents.

Sport has so, so much to offer, far more than just looking to represent your country, -which is special indeed. Sport, it is the jell that bonds, the language we can all understand across the continents and the team we all want to be a part of - playing, supporting and sharing. As we go back through the village Zambia are playing football, how do we know – the 50 deep groups of adults desperate to see it from the one TV in the betting the shack, standing on top toes, just one glance is all that is required….as we drive past a huge celebration – I’m guessing 1:0! As we come to leave to leave the village, I see two little boys at play, pulling along mustard bottle cars, made with bottle top wheels and a straggly piece of string – competing, enjoying, and flourishing where many would not.

So as I approach London, I remember the discussion with one of the lucky Zambia parents – their annual salary £200. Whilst we all battle for the funding available during the next sport funding cycle 2017 - 21, let us remember the value of sport and the cost for not investing wisely in it.

2016 Project Students Inducted

For every group of students who've been on the IDEALS programme, their first taste of what's to come is at the annual Induction weekend hosted at Durham University. This year was as good as ever with several of our Zambian friends over to set the pace.

The IDEALS 2016 team are now fully inducted and busy making preparations to embark on a project that will change their lives, as it has done so for many of us IDEALS alumni previously. This year’s induction, hosted for the 8th consecutive year at Durham University’s Collingwood College, was possibly the biggest yet with the addition of Bath construction, International Inspirations, Volleyball England and Youth Sport Trust. The training week kicked off with a meeting of the project leads from each Wallace University, this is an exciting new development within the project, with the newly formed group taking a leading role on the development of the project post IDEALS.

There were many new additions to this year’s induction which were very well received; The Youth Sport Trust kindly shared their expertise with our students to support the work they will be doing out in schools in Zambia, all students were offered a ‘Master Class’ and an ‘Introduction Class’ in one of our key sports. This year’s Placement Coordinator (new role to replace Team Leader) George Lavender, delivered a session on how to build life skills into coaching sessions and we had a presentation about a new app which the students will be offered this year to log their coaching sessions.

Finally, this year’s induction was the last induction with Dr Peter Warburton as the Lead Director of the project. The welcome dinner gave the perfect opportunity to thank Peter for the tireless work he has done for the project over the last 10 years. Warm words were very well said by both Stephen Stewart and George Kakomwe and it has been agreed that one of the sport facility developments this year will be named in Peter’s honour.

Whilst Peter may be stepping down from his responsibilities he will certainly not be stepping away from Zambia, his passion will continue all to the benefit of The Perfect Day Foundation.

Bus bought for Sport in Action

The IDEALS 2016 team are now fully inducted and busy making preparations to embark on a project that will change their lives, as it has done so for many of us IDEALS alumni previously. This year’s induction, hosted for the 8th consecutive year at Durham University’s Collingwood College, was possibly the biggest yet with the addition of Bath construction, International Inspirations, Volleyball England and Youth Sport Trust. The training week kicked off with a meeting of the project leads from each Wallace University, this is an exciting new development within the project, with the newly formed group taking a leading role on the development of the project post IDEALS.

There were many new additions to this year’s induction which were very well received; The Youth Sport Trust kindly shared their expertise with our students to support the work they will be doing out in schools in Zambia, all students were offered a ‘Master Class’ and an ‘Introduction Class’ in one of our key sports. This year’s Placement Coordinator (new role to replace Team Leader) George Lavender, delivered a session on how to build life skills into coaching sessions and we had a presentation about a new app which the students will be offered this year to log their coaching sessions.

Finally, this year’s induction was the last induction with Dr Peter Warburton as the Lead Director of the project. The welcome dinner gave the perfect opportunity to thank Peter for the tireless work he has done for the project over the last 10 years. Warm words were very well said by both Stephen Stewart and George Kakomwe and it has been agreed that one of the sport facility developments this year will be named in Peter’s honour.

Whilst Peter may be stepping down from his responsibilities he will certainly not be stepping away from Zambia, his passion will continue all to the benefit of The Perfect Day Foundation.

On my visit to Zambia this year I took time out with Frank and the team to discuss how we could best help them moving forwards. Anyone who has been to Zambia knows of course the massive amount of moving people around that Sport in Action get involved with. In fact it is often transport that holds back some of their many initiatives.

With this in mind we discussed the possibility of purchasing a second hand bus that, given the price, would be in good order. This is not the first time that Sport in Action has asked for this kind of support – I can remember the great Clement Chileshe asking the same question some years ago.

On my return I discussed this request with the Perfect Day Directors and we are now going to commit £4,000 of the £5,500 required to purchase the bus and friends will be pleased to know that the money is now on its way to Lusaka. Sport in Action have the funds to make up the rest of the money. £3,000 is coming from the Perfect Day Foundation – a huge thanks to all those who have worked so hard to secure this funding. A further £1,000 has been donated by St Roberts in Washington where one of our Director’s, Gabby Foster, teaches – a huge thanks to the year group she oversees for raising this money.

The bus will be used to transport children into events and from site to site and will be a massive support to the project taking away barriers that we are often not aware of. For some children this will result in trips to areas in and around Lusaka they will never have visited before. A massive thanks to everyone who has helped make this possible.