Kenya pilots sexual health agenda – Since September our Kenyan volunteers have been leading sexual health talks with the kids after playing netball. So far they have discussed rape, gender based violence and Cultural norms relating to gender and sexuality. The teachers are already noticing "how open the pupils have become while in the sessions. They give the team very positive feedback of how the girls are now finding it very easy to report boys and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) who make sexual advances towards them. The pupils now know their rights and can speak out"
Having heard about the Netball Development Trust through an appeal they had for used kit, I looked them up online and after reading the blogs and watching some videos I immediately contacted them for details about joining the 2017 tour to Uganda and Kenya. I was sent information and applied to join the team. The handbook was extremely helpful and after having a meeting with Julie (-who immediately settled any worries I had), II was ready to go.
After meeting at the airport and undertaking a very long flight we arrived in Uganda and made the trip over to Bungoma in Kenya. I must say that the various accommodations we stayed in throughout the three weeks were a lot better than I thought they would be, with comfy beds, warm showers and electricity (-most of the time!)
For me one of the main highlights of the trip was meeting so many amazing people. The Kenyan team were extremely welcoming and I felt to be in safe hands the whole time. The work that they, and all those involved with NDT, are doing out there is truly inspiring and I am thrilled to have been a part of it.
The 2016 NDT tour to Kenya was without a doubt the best of experience of my life. Before going on the tour I was a little apprehensive despite being given as much information as possible from Julie and Monica I was excited but nervous about the unknown. I was really excited to be part of the amazing work NDT do because I had heard how much of a difference it makes to children‟s lives, this was all put into perspective once we arrived. It sounds silly but I felt like I was in a film when we began our journey in Africa because I vaguely knew what to expect but it was more surreal than anticipated. The "tourist" time before we started coaching gave us a chance to bond whilst seeing the sights which definitely helped us to gel as a group. The night before the first day of coaching we had a team meeting where we got to meet the local volunteers and some of the teachers, for me this was where it really sank in that we were about to coach netball to children who spoke a completely different language and knew little English but the prospect of the challenge was motivating.
I’ve been interested in the Netball Development Trust tours since two players from our league went a few years ago. Unfortunately the tours have always clashed with work. I had planned to use this summer to do a charity building and education project abroad but thankfully the dates this year were in my holidays so I was very pleased to finally be able to go. I had previously been to both Uganda and Kenya with different charities, one helping with education and the other trying to improve lives for those in the rural villages. I therefore knew what to expect culturally but was excited to be able to use my passion for netball to work with the communities.
From the start it was all relatively easy. I contacted NDT through either facebook or email (I can’t remember) and was sent the dates, cost and information. The handbook included everything we needed to know about where we were going, a rough itinerary, things to take and important medical information. There was a ‘pre-tour meeting’ and I would encourage everyone to make every effort to attend this. This year’s groups were from all over the country and it was a chance for everyone to meet each other briefly and meet the organisers Julie and Monica and ask them any questions. This made our meeting at the airport far easier and less nerve-wracking as we knew who we would be spending the time with.
The flights were as expected – LONG, and going through customs in Uganda was almost as long as the flight! However we were met in Entebbe by smiling faces and sunshine!!
"Making a difference through netball" there has never been a truer statement. Netball is more than just a sport. It is a true passion of mine and something I have been lucky enough to gain so much from. It has given me opportunities and experiences throughout my life and allowed me to make lifelong friendships with many unforgettable memories along the way.
I signed up for Netball Development Trust hoping to share not only my love for netball but also the other things netball can offer including drive, focus and friendship. At the pre tour meeting it became apparent to me that we weren't just going to Kenya to coach netball but to use netball in a much broader way and provide opportunities to children that they would never otherwise have dreamed of.
In Feb 2016 we established a new partnership with X-SUBA Sport 4 Development Uganda with the aim of enhancing netball amongst communities in Jinja, Uganda.
X-SUBA is a non-profit community based organization based in Uganda using sport and play to educate and empower children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities of Jinja.
In the last 8 months X-SUBA have done some amazing work in partnership with NDT. They have introduced “connection netball play” which happens every Saturday and community netball on Sundays. In these netball play sessions there has been a notable increase in the number of young people, especially girls, joining in. This has also provided a platform for X-SUBA to reach out on their Saturday life sessions discussing sensitive issues about sexual health, HIV and self esteem.
Kenya has come so far in just 2 years. A young enthusiastic volunteer uses grassroots netball to really make a difference to 300 school girls in Kenya.
Early 2013 a young, shy but very enthusiastic trainee teacher in a rural school in Bungoma, Kenya got in touch with us wanting to learn more about netball. Joseph Olita joined us on tour in Uganda that year and took what he learnt back with him to Kenya. In the 12 months after his first exposure to coaching, Joseph trained 13 fellow volunteers as netball coaches and they collectively started netball in 5 schools in their home town. We now have over 16 schools playing, and regular training taking place across the county – Joseph has worked wonders.
At the beginning of January we communicated to our volunteers and the NDT teacher representatives of our partner schools that we would be hosting a netball tournament.
We requested them to work with their class teachers, who interact with the girls on a day to day basis and know the challenges they face, to identify female students from each school who would benefit from the NDT pad programme.
On the 29th January we held a rural schools mixed tournament. We had 5 schools (Kabkara, Machakha, Khakala, Kibindoi and Khakala) taking part from the rural parts of Bungoma County, with 30 underprivileged girls from each school, totalling to 150 girls (12-17 years old). They were joined for netball games by 75 boys (11-16 years old) from the same schools.
Machakha Primary emerged the winner followed by Kaprot Primary then Kibindoi Primary in third. The kids had a lot of fun playing and were very grateful to NDT for making it possible.
Girls in Kenya are likely to miss 4 school days a month because of their periods. Without hygienic sanitary pads many are forced not to go to school, and will miss out on playing netball.
NDT is proud to announce that we will be supporting our friend, Mary, to buy sanitary pads for the girls in our programme to make their lives easier, healthier and happier. We aim to raise a minimum of £1500 so we can help 290 of our netball girls to keep playing. The money will allow Mary to give each girl a packet of pads a month for the whole of 2016.
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We are delighted with this year’s inaugural tour week in Kenya. We were hosted by the Sirisia district team in Bungoma, and they totally spoiled us. We met dignitaries, were offered dinner in local houses, and met some extraordinary stakeholders offering us enormous support for the continuation of the programme.
We loved visiting Mount Elgon National Park and we coached 350 kids across 9 primary schools in rural and urban parts of Bungoma while working with some incredible volunteers, even getting our taxi driver (who was a qualified volleyball coach to get involved too)!
A huge thank you to Joseph, Fred, Mary, Evelyn and Joy and their teams for looking after us so well. See you next summer!
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