The University of Stirling is sending a group of student and staff volunteers to Zambia to help develop opportunities in sport for young people, as part of the Volunteer Zambia sport programme.
Run by the Wallace Group, a partnership of the leading sport universities in the UK, the programme works with Sport in Action, the top NGO for sports in Zambia. Volunteer Zambia aims to give young people across Zambia easier access to sports and the resulting health and wellbeing benefits that come with regular exercise and participation in sport. It also looks to champion sustainable practices and infrastructure that enables sport programmes to be run year-round by qualified local coaches.
To do this, community sport hub sites have become the foundation of the programme. The hub sites are central locations situated within the heart of communities, ranging from the humblest area of ground to areas that have been developed into sport-specific facilities. “Run in the community, by the community, for the community” is the motto that underpins every site, with the ultimate goal of providing young Zambians, especially girls and young women, avenues to self-development through values such as participation, opportunity for leadership and access to education.
Having been involved with the programme for almost twenty years, the University of Stirling has a rich history of supporting the efforts of the Volunteer Zambia programme and Sport in Action. This year’s cohort of student volunteers hit the ground running from early June to support this programme in Lusaka. Spending eight weeks in-country over the summer, Stirling students Eloise Maraner (Media, Marketing & Communications), Kiera Cameron (Netball), Sarah Heeley (Netball) and Stewart Kerr (Basketball) will support their respective sport programmes across different hub sites in and around the capital. The students will also be supported in-country by Stirling staff members Andrew Jenkins and Luke Howard.
Whilst each student will help to collaboratively deliver and develop coaching structures within their given sports, Maraner, the founder of the university’s photography society, will support the documentation and communication of the programme’s progress over the duration of her stay.
The University of Stirling’s involvement in Zambia would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Executive director of Sport, Cathy Gallagher, who also plays a leading role as a Director of the Wallace Group. Gallagher has been instrumental this year in representing the institution and the Wallace group, and even had the good fortune of a chance meeting earlier this month with the President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema.
Heading out in July, staff member Luke Howard shared his feelings on the programme: “I’m excited for this year’s group of volunteers to get out there and get stuck in. I honestly believe that the eight weeks that the students will spend collaborating with Sport in Action will have the potential to create a lasting impact both on the communities they’ll be working within, and on their development as individuals.”
Applications for Volunteer Zambia 2023-2024 will open at the beginning of semester one in September. More information about the project for those looking to apply can be found on the Volunteer Zambia Website. For further enquiries, please email email@example.com.