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 volleyball 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.
The courts were also generously supported by industrial sponsors/donors including; Wentworth House, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Munali’s volleyball courts were nothing more than lines marked onto compacted earth with poles and nets. When we left six weeks later, the court was resurfaced to an extremely high standard, not dissimilar to a court you might see in the United Kingdom.
A week prior to our departure, the school held an opening ceremony to celebrate their new courts and, much to our excitement, we were able to see the first ever game played on the court.
The multipurpose court at Mtendere had been in a poor condition and not necessarily fit for use. The court was the main play area of the Community School there and it’s resurfacing was necessary to provide the children with the facilities to continue their netball and volleyball training as well as their physical education lessons.
Kelly and Keith Hunter who had previously volunteered with IDEALs, wanted to give something back to this inspirational school and alongwith friends raised the funds for the much needed resurfacing of the Mtendere court.
The ACE team were incredibly grateful for both of their support and as a result of the resurfacing works there has been a huge improvement to both the school and its sporting facilities.
The court was successfully completed during the project, but unfortunately the ACE team had left Zambia by the time of the opening ceremony as a few final touches were necessary as required by the school.
The ACE 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.
Due to a multitude of delays, a loss of 15 days out of a total of 35 days, the court was not completed before the ACE team departed. However, prior to their departure, they had a handover meeting all major stakeholders and the new project manager specifying the requirements for the remaining works. The court was finished a few weeks later.