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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, Jul 25 2017 08:18AM

It has been 10 days since Group 2 arrived here in Zambia and the time is already soaring. I arrived a day after everyone else as a result of a delayed flight in Heathrow and then a missed flight from Dubai. However on my arrival, I was welcomed at the airport by some Group 2 members, and I was happy to find myself feeling very comfortable around everyone in no time.

Our first few days were spent settling in, unpacking, and playing loads of modified games thanks to Gethin. We’ve played indoor volleyball, card games, hand tennis, and pretty much anything with a ball and a bit of competition. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we absolutely love it. It’s not very often that find yourself living with a group of people who not only love sports as much as you do, but who are also just extremely competitive. It’s such a relief to find ourselves feeling so at home after only a week.

It has been great having Jon, our project manager, here because not only is he very relaxed but he is also full of information not only about all of our placements but also just about Lusaka and the Zambian culture in general. We all feel very comfortable going to him with any questions, which has relieved a lot of unnecessary stress. In addition, we have Gethin as our staff member at the moment and he is an absolute legend. He is calm and responsible while also just loads of fun. I don’t think he realises the impact he has already made on us all. At the risk of sounding really dramatic, the thought of him leaving next week is a very painful one.

By the end of our first weekend I think many of us were feeling a bit nervous about placement on Monday even though we didn’t want to admit it. However as soon as we had our first day most of us felt a lot better no matter how good or bad it went. Just finally being able to visualise what placement would be like was a huge relief.

My first day at Chipata was absolutely bomb mainly because any spare time we had we got to spend it with the little babies. I could put every last one of them in my pocket and take them home with me. They are so excitable and seeing how happy we can make them even with such little effort is absolutely amazing. No feeling can beat it.

In terms of coaching I think our second week will be really big in terms of confidence and comfort. So far we’ve had five solid days of learning from peer leaders as well as testing what we already know. I’m excited to see what week two will bring for myself, my group, and for all the kids we get to work with.

By wallacegroup, Jul 7 2017 05:35PM

We campaigned, we donated, we did it!

The 2017 Sports Kit Appeal goes down in Wallace Group history as the biggest and most successful to date. In just over 30 days, the 7 UK universities and their partner organisations and contacts managed to fill a 40-foot shipping container with thousands and thousands of items, including; clothes, shoes, sports equipment, bikes and even a trampoline!

The 2017 kit appeal is part of the wider #Zambia5050 event, which will see Olympian Adam Peaty and GB swimming coach Mel Marshall join our volunteers in Zambia this Summer for 50 hours of sport over 5 days, in the hope of raising £50,000 to support the work of Zambian NGO Sport in Action.

During the launch of the #Zambia5050 event in Loughborough it was agreed that a kit appeal had the potential to be huge, but would take a lot of work to be successful. We knew that if the campaign was going to succeed we needed to get some big names and sponsors behind us, and so collectively we set about using all of our contacts across the UK. In the end, the campaign attracted attention and donations from many national governing bodies, including Team GB, British Swimming, British Basketball, England Netball, England Cricket, and Scottish Golf.

Campaigns were run at each of the 7 Wallace Group universities across the UK and included trips to local primary and secondary schools, leisure centres and university shops. This proved very successful and saw whole communities, clubs and schools coming together to help out and gather equipment.

Whilst delivering an assembly to a primary school in St Andrews I was overwhelmed by the response I got from the children and teachers there. They were all practically jumping out of their seats to ask questions about how they could help contribute to our campaign.

The appeal on the ground was accompanied by a strong social media campaign to increase the reach across the UK. One snazzy video and poster later and the internet campaign had begun!

Every day my phone was buzzing with notifications from Facebook and Twitter about where and when people could drop off various items of sports equipment and clothing. Weekly Facebook and Twitter posts allowed people to engage with the progress of the campaign as well as see where their kit will be going in Zambia.

The campaign was a tribute to what teamwork can achieve when a common goal is put in place. Colleagues from across all 7 partner universities worked solidly on the night of Monday June 19th (deadline day) to ensure all kit was donated, packaged and properly catalogued before being shipped to Zambia.

Loughborough University acted as the hub for all kit, with colleagues driving vans full of kit (on the hottest day of the year!) from St Andrews, Stirling, Northumbria, Durham, Bath and Cardiff Met University.

In the end, we collected: 2 full size football goals, 270+ boxes of clothes, 2 lacrosse goals, 10 gym mirrors, 2 bikes, 1 tennis net, 2 spin bikes and 1 trampoline. All this kit is set to arrive in Zambia in August and you can follow its progress, from container to each placement, by following the Wallace Group on social media (@WallaceGPZambia).

On behalf of the Wallace Group and our Zambian partners Sport in Action, I would like to express a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in the 2017 Kit Appeal. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you! Or rather… Zikomo!

Harry Gunning

Wallace Group Media Officer

By wallacegroup, Jun 27 2017 11:38AM

Week 1 of the project!! The first weekend was free for the students to arrive, settle in, sort out their Zambian phones and visit the Lilayi Elephant Sanctuary.

The start of the week saw us going to Sport in Action to watch the Zambian under 20s play, it’s amazing how much they value even their U20s team, compared to in England where nobody really bothers. After lunch we had the in country induction, which gave the students the opportunity to learn about their placements and meet their peer leaders, who they’ll be working closely with for the next 6 weeks and also learn about the differences between the British and the Zambian culture.

Truck tour – one of the best days of my experience in Zambia!! Going round all the placement sites on the back of a flat-bed truck. The smiles and excitement of the kids was overwhelming and infectious! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed being able to see all the placements and the kids reaction just goes to show the level of appreciation they have for us being here.

The first day of placement I attended Chipata. It was a great first day! Getting stuck in to PE sessions straight away with the SEN class and grade 4, both a challenge in different ways, but was great to start to build the confidence of the students in leading the songs and movement games. The afternoon saw the students lead basketball and football sessions. The language barrier was the one main challenge, but the students soon came up with alternative communication methods or made use of the peer leaders to translate.

The group have very quickly settled in to their placements with just one or two minor issues, but all were quickly sorted! I cannot wait to see what the next 5 weeks will hold!

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!

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