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Welcome to the Wallace Group blog


Here you will find news reports and updates about the Volunteer Zambia project and other ventures the Wallace Group and partners are involved with.

By wallacegroup, May 10 2017 09:55AM

Last week The Wallace Group held a media launch for their #Zambia5050 fundraising appeal, with Olympic stars Adam Peaty, Mel Marshall and Rebecca Adlington and England Football manager Gareth Southgate taking part in a netball shoot out at Loughborough University.

Marshall, who is a patron for the Perfect Day Foundation, the charity that supports the initiative, will lead a group heading to Zambia in August with the aim of raising £50,000 for 50 hours of sport. With the support of Peaty and his fellow athletes the team will undertake 10 hours of sport per day for five days at five different locations in Lusaka and the surrounding communities. They will be joined by 100's of young Zambians from four of the most deprived communities in Lusaka, where poverty, HIV, domestic and gender based violence, teenage pregnancy and homelessness are rife.

Netball, one of the five chosen sports alongside basketball, football, triathlon and volleyball, was chosen to raise awareness of the campaign, with Loughborough Lightning’s international shooters Peace Proscovia and Vanessa Walker putting the four celebrities through their paces.

The support didn’t stop there though as British Triathlon and England Netball CEO’s Jack Buckner and Jo Adams joined in the shoot off. Both governing bodies, alongside British Basketball, British Swimming and Volleyball England are supporting the campaign alongside the seven Wallace Group Universities: Bath, Cardiff Met, Durham, Loughborough, Northumbria, St Andrews and Stirling.

This will be the 12th year of the 'Volunteer Zambia' project, which sends out dozens of students from the seven universities each year to deliver coaching, build new sports facilities and undertake sports development capacity building programmes across Zambia.

Speaking about the Wallace Group’s mission in Zambia, Loughborough University Director of Sport Development and Wallace Group Strategic Lead Tim Garfield said:

''Zambia is a country with major challenges; HIV has devastated whole communities and poverty is everywhere. Despite this its young people are friendly, optimistic and many have incredible sporting talent. They love the release and joy sport provides and I am passionate about giving them better sporting opportunities. Mel's utterly selfless efforts to give sporting chances to young Zambians who have next to nothing is inspiring.''

University of St Andrews Director of Sport and Wallace Group Volunteer Zambia Project Lead Stephen Stewart added:

''The Wallace Group was set up in 2006 to support the work of Sport in Action and its partners who are making a significant contribution to the long term, sustainable development of young people in Zambia. We hope to empower individuals and communities and enrich the lives of young Zambians through the power of sport, leadership and education. At the same time our students are given the opportunity to add value to their University education, enhance their global awareness, develop their leadership skills and improve their teaching abilities. We are delighted that Mel, who has previously been out to Zambia with the Wallace Group, is still actively involved in helping to sustain the work we are doing in collaboration with Sport in Action and The Perfect Day Foundation.”

Mel Marshall, Olympic gold medal winning coach and Perfect Day patron added:

“On my previous visits to Zambia I have seen how valuable sport can be in enhancing the quality of life of young people who have next to nothing. I promised myself I would return every Olympic cycle and try to raise money to give them a chance to enjoy sport and learn valuable life skills. Every donation makes such a big difference to the lives of these young people.”

Of the initiative England manager Gareth Southgate said:

“We take for granted opportunities to play sport and the facilities we have in this country. Even facilities that we wouldn’t deem as good in the UK would be outstanding in countries like Zambia, so it’s important we do something about that. For the guys to go out there and inspire people to take up sport and maybe enable them to go to the next level, with some good coaching thrown in, is really exciting.”

Peaty commented:

“I’m not the biggest netball fan but as soon as I got playing I realised it was actually really fun! Hopefully today was the start of raising a lot of money to allow children to get involved in sport and be educated through sport. Hopefully then future generations in Zambia will all take up a sport and maybe some of them can even pursue it as a serious career.

“Four years ago we went out there and took on a 500km bike ride in 42 degrees. Some of the money we raised has helped build a sports facility and we will be starting our five day challenge this year from there, which is really exciting.”

Loughborough Lightning's Ugandan shooting sensation said:

''Loughborough University has given me opportunities I never dreamed were possible growing up in Uganda. I am just so lucky and I want to help other African girls to get the same life changing chances that I have enjoyed. There is so much talent waiting to be discovered and this initiative will bring hope to many young Zambian girls''.

England Netball CEO Joanna Adams also commented:

''I visited Zambia last summer and immediately fell in love with the place. Netball is growing rapidly in Zambia because it can be played anywhere and is relatively easy to organise. The young girls have so much talent. England Netball are fully committed to helping Zambian netball succeed and we are trying to help them qualify for the World Cup in Liverpool in two years’ time.''

British Triathlon CEO Jack Buckner added

''This is such a worthy cause. It's an inspirational program and the money raised will make a real difference to the quality of many young people’s lives. I am delighted the swimmers will also be promoting and taking part in my sport whilst out there. I am very happy to lend British Triathlons support to this appeal.”

To donate to this fantastic cause either text MELZ17 £10 to 70070 or head to www.theperfectdayfoundation.org

By wallacegroup, Mar 10 2017 01:39PM

Cath Harvey from Loughborough University & Kate Hansbury from Northumbria University were lucky enough to travel out to Zambia this February to represent the ‘Volunteer Zambia’ Programme on behalf of the Wallace Group of Universities and UK Sport.

The main aim of the visit was to meet with high profile sporting organisations to enable the Wallace Group to provide greater support to the Zambian Government, and other key stakeholders in implementing an exciting new Zambian sport strategy.

To support the work of this new strategy, The Wallace Group will now provide key ‘Student Sport Development Officer’ roles, in addition to the traditional offer of sport specific coaching roles. This will help achieve the ambitions of the Wallace Group in country via the ‘Volunteer Zambia’ project and will provide increased support and expertise to the areas prioritised by the Zambians themselves.

Our focus will be to invest in building capacity within sport development. This will include supporting the development of talent pathways in key sports, coach education, officiating, leadership and wider sports volunteering. We will do this by encouraging the sharing of expertise, knowledge and experience between UK staff and students and their Zambian counterparts. Our emphasis will be on building the capacity in country to create sustainable opportunities for people to play and progress in sport.

During our visit, Sport in Action, our principal in country partner and the Ministry for Youth Sport devised a jam packed schedule for us over the course of the week.

We were lucky enough to meet with the following organizations:

- Ministry for General Education

- National Sports Council Zambia

- National Olympic Committee Zambia

- Olympic Youth Development Centre

- National Heroes Stadium

The purpose of each meeting was to understand the aims and objectives of the organizations and to recognise their priorities and areas of need. We then worked together to map and place this year’s Student Sport Development Officers matched on their skills sets and experiences.

The visit was extremely beneficial from both a professional and personal point of view. We were able to work closely with Sport in Action and enhance their relationships with a number of key organisations whilst developing a robust offer to the students and staff heading out to Zambia this summer.

We implemented a placement pro forma within each organisation, and developed an achievable work programme for each student and staff. We will share this at the annual ‘Volunteer Zambia’ induction in April. This was coordinated in conjunction with Sport in Action who will continue to communicate with the identified organisation.

From a personal stand, it was a huge privilege to meet with organisations who share the same passion and drive to develop sport. They are working tirelessly to develop opportunities and experiences for children to participate, which mirrors our vision of ‘developing people, inspiring a nation’.

Overall, the trip was an amazing experience and opened our eyes to the opportunities that are available to us as a group. Not only have we strengthened the work we deliver in Zambia, we have created the opportunity for more collaboration with key stakeholders. We recognise the invaluable experience it will give to all of the people involved, including students, staff and key stakeholders. It is an exciting time for the ‘Volunteer Zambia’ project – one which Bessie Chelemu, Director of Sport in Zambia, gives her support wholeheartedly!

By wallacegroup, Sep 23 2016 07:58AM

As I reflect on my 3 weeks in Lusaka, Zambia, it is with only fondness that I look back. We were received so warmly by our Zambian hosts at Sport in Action, and were made to feel very much valued and part of the SIA family. Special thanks go out to Stacy from Durham University whose in-country organisation, links, and local knowledge proved invaluable in helping us settle into our new surroundings, prepare ourselves for what was to come, and to ensure that the programme ran as smoothly as possible. Thanks are also due to the team of students I had the privilege of working with in Group 3 who are to be commended for their conduct – the way they embraced the Zambian culture, got stuck in at their respective placements, and seized the opportunities that came their way.

It may sound clichéd but it was an honour for me to work alongside some very dedicated, talented, and inspirational individuals at SIA (and EduSport) during my time in Zambia – right through from the management to the peer leaders. I was impacted by the commitment of the peer leaders, by the pride they took in their roles, and the knowledge they possessed. Participants clearly enjoyed taking part in the sporting activities while equally taking their training seriously. Players had a strong competitive edge and produced a standard of play that defied their humble surroundings. It was a pleasure seeing the different age ranges mix in together happily, and a highlight for me (which demonstrates one of the strengths of the programme) was how some of the young people were thriving in the additional responsibility being given to them through officiating, coaching, and looking after equipment. The development of peer leaders plays such an important role in the success of the programme, so seeing the potential “peer leaders of the future” starting to emerge was great to see.

I have gained a better understanding of the relationship between the various branches that make up the sporting infrastructure of Zambia and how the IDEALS project has been impacting on them – the way sporting facilities are being developed alongside investment in the human resource of peer leaders and site coordinators; the way that this links to developmental goals through the provision of educational opportunities, supply of food, female empowerment, and the focus on instilling values through sport; and the way these are all tied together through a strong strategic and operational approach spearheaded by NGO’s Sport In Action and EduSport.

Finally, I will take away fond memories of the people I have met along the way – the peer leaders and site coordinators, the house security guard and cleaner, all at SIA / EduSport, the students and staff, the children, and the Zambian people whose infectious friendliness and warmth have helped make the experience so enjoyable.

By wallacegroup, Sep 14 2016 08:06PM

On the 31st of August we arrived in Lusaka after a really intense but rewarding time in Livingstone. During our time in Livingstone we continued our relationships with Palm Grove School, the Reformed Church, Lubasi Orphanage, Marramba Old People's home and continued being involved in discussions about cultural differences and similarity, tradition and modernity, race and human rights with the film activist Musola (who last year co-ordinated the Livingstone arts festival).

We also fostered new relationships with a youth centre, SEPO, and the Divine Fire Cathedral Church. At the end of our time in Livingstone we went on a rural placement to Nampongo village for 2 nights which was different to anything we knew, and such an eye opener to the traditional life Zambians live which we hadn't experienced in the cities.

As a group we found some of these placements challenging, but all were enlightening and incredibly rewarding. We made lifelong friendships with Sport in Action Co-ordinator Staffison Pirri, and Aggrey Chompa, as well as with the people we worked with in our placements. I personally found the work with the youth group, SEPO, to be particularly rewarding as we learnt so much about what young people like us think about their country, culture, and the way we can work together to increase development in Zambia socio-economically by using the medium of drama to foster confidence, life skills and opportunities and keep young people off the streets. This encourages personal development, education and empowerment, which then can be seen on a national scale.

We also really enjoyed our time at Palm Grove School where we put on a Shakespeare showcase with the children we had been working with. We incorporated traditional songs and dances the children had taught us to foster cultural exchange and share cultures.

In Lusaka we hope to continue the sort of work we did in Livingstone - today Rhiannon, Annie and myself went to Lubala School where we will be working for the next 2 weeks teaching drama and music. We will start working with the children tomorrow to work up to a final showcase at the end of next week. This showcase will also include the work Claire, Stine and Elizabeth have been doing at the Fountain of Hope.

We also hope to join Barefeet Theatre at their yearly camp where peer leaders will be teaching 'Uncle John' workshops. These focus on the story of a boy who travels from a rural village to Lusaka. Through the medium of drama issues that affect young people in Zambia are faced, such as HIV and Aids, anxiety, sexual and personal health, gender based violence and female empowerment. As these are the sorts of issues we are all very interested in we would love to work with them in any way possible, and are looking forward to learning as much as we can, as well as using our own skills to help them. We can't wait to continue- the time has just flown by so far. We can't believe we only have 2 weeks left!!

Tizaonana manje manje (see you soon),


By wallacegroup, Sep 12 2016 07:14PM

Last year I was lucky enough to be introduced to the Zambia IDEALS project by a friend. This has meant that for the last two years I have been fortunate enough to spend 6 weeks in June and July working and volunteering in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. It is hard to put into words what I have gained from this experience. Having been back now for well over a month I still often miss the country and people which I have been so blessed to have visited.

A normal day on placement in Lusaka is characterised by its distinct lack of normality by our expectations. Just travelling to placement is an experience in itself. Buses in Zambia are very much a love it or hate it experience. You are crammed into a tiny, often broken down bus, with four or five people on a row of seats designed for three. You then get to barter with the conductor in order to secure the best price. It is a process which should be embraced. Travelling on the us is also very different because of the interactions you have with the people on them. Zambians are in the main incredibly outgoing and friendly people and they will always attempt to engage you in conversation.

The thing that makes the whole experience so special is the people. The volunteers and staff at Sport in Action are so hardworking, friendly and inspiring. It is almost impossible not to become incredibly close with the peer leaders at the placement sites you work at and visit who are all friendly and welcoming. But above all else it is the children you teach and coach who have the most profound impact. Despite often having very little they turn up to PE or sport sessions everyday with a sense of happiness and excitement which is hard to describe. Whilst lessons can often be chaotic given the number of children, often topping a hundred, taking part they are also immensely rewarding given the enjoyment on the faces of those taking part.

Perhaps the most important thing I have learnt as a result of the project is to rethink sport development and third world development projects on the whole. So often they get painted as ‘Us’ going over ‘there’ to help ‘them’. In actual fact I have learnt so much more from the people I have met in Zambia than I could ever teach them. For me development projects such as this a are two way process whereby the people who travel to Zambia in the project get as much out of the programme as the local children and coaches. I would strongly encourage anyone who has the chance to take part in the project, you will get more out of it than you could imagine!

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