By Richard Bennett
July 18 2012
Greetings from South Africa, home to rugby's world beating Springboks and the country in which this year concludes Bhubesi Pride's first Rugby in Africa programme. The last six months has been hugely eventful, challenging, enjoyable for all but, most importantly, tremendously successful.
Thanks to the incredible commitment from this year's coaching team, staff at our African partner schools, supporting NGOs, national rugby unions, CAR and the IRB, Bhubesi Pride continues to deliver on its goals to unite, empower and inspire - with rugby at the heart of its community work.
Before I continue with a sum-up of activities in southern Africa, with a brief review of the big picture, please take a moment to view Bhubesi Pride's fourth project video for 2012's TransAfrique Rugby in Africa mission:
Watch Video Part Four | The official update from this year's Rugby in Africa mission
Catch-up: Botswana, Namibia and South Africa
With Ben Merison - this year's Media and Press Content Editor - having written our excellent online blogs for Bhubesi Pride's website, feel free to click through to our most recent articles from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, accompanied by some great photos. The schools and communities we worked with here in the last couple of months are also featured in our fourth Project Video.
The Big Picture
Without intending to use too many numbers to further describe some of this year's achievements - and credit must be given to our in-country school and community support staff - the following simple stats may help to put this year's coaching programme into some context. Bhubesi Pride has 15 partner schools and communities in 10 African countries, but we know the importance of expanding operations and programmes into schools close-by, over time. We intend to double this number in 2013 and this year we've already added a further 7 schools to total 22.
In all these countries, we worked with 3,687 pupils and, trying to ensure as many children develop their basic rugby skills during each week as possible, 76% of these pupils participated in 3 or more sessions, with many competing in tournaments. Relatively even numbers of boys and girls took part, encouraging male and female teachers to coach. 61 local staff worked with us in a 'buddy coach' system and we're confident that, through experience, knowledge transfer and resource sharing, 33 can confidently continue developing rugby with youngsters, as well as using the game as a tool for social development. Building on this objective, to empower and provide further qualifications for locals, is a priority for us next year.
See who's involved this year and get in touch if you wish to explore further opportunities with us...
A reminder that our 2013 Expedition Coaching Team online application process is only open for a couple more weeks. Please have a look and pass round. We'll also be finalising dates for shorter 'Visit Africa' stays for coaching support staff keen to join the team at African schools between February and June next year.