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Stirling students celebrate 10th anniversary of the Zambia Project

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James Mayley with Harrison and Emmanuel, swimmers in the Olympic Youth Development Performance Squad.
James Mayley, with Harrison (left) and Emmanuel (right), swimmers in the Olympic Youth Development Performance Squad.

Students from the University of Stirling have been teaching sport in Zambia as part of a highly successful UK Sport initiative.

This summer marked the 10th anniversary of the International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport (IDEALS) Zambia Project.

Students from seven UK universities, collectively called the Wallace Group, work alongside Zambian organisations Sport in Action and EduSport to run a wide range of sports and physical activities.

Three students from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, James Mayley, Zoe Lea and summer 2015 graduate Fiona Farrell, each spent three weeks in the capital city Lusaka.

James, who is studying an MSc in the Psychology of Sport, said: “I worked with the performance swimming squad which is aimed at children from deprived backgrounds. They have a 50 metre pool but it is outside and uncovered. It was absolutely freezing and the young ones could only stay in for 15 minutes. We showed them some land-based training they could do like squats and crunches.

“I also coached football with the local schools. The children don’t get to do PE that often so when they saw me arriving they would get very excited as they knew it was time for sport. In one of my football sessions there were 50 children playing and lots others asking to join in. The relationship I built up with the children there is something I will never forget.”

A two-day Zambian National Sports Development Conference brought delegates together to celebrate a decade of the partnership project, which continues to have an inspirational impact.

Stirling students who participated in previous years have since returned on several occasions, establishing supporting charities and engaging in fundraising for sporting facilities and equipment.

University Sports Participation Officer Jenny Tattersall, who leads Stirling’s involvement in the Zambia Project, received an award from the Ministry of Youth and Sport for her outstanding contribution to youth sport in Zambia.

She said: “Sport is something which everyone loves and the Zambia Project has used sport to bring people together. Having reached the milestone 10th anniversary I am proud to see so many of the Zambian peer leaders who were there from the beginning still involved today. And for our students, they gain great personal and professional development from their experience in Lusaka.”

Find out more about the Zambia Project.


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