“Overwhelming” festival day sets the scene for rugby future in Jinja

Tuesday, 18.Mar.2014

This year in Jinja, Bhubesi Pride added a fourth primary school to its community rugby programme. And with the arrival of Englishman Ed Taylor and together with four extremely helpful local Ugandan coaches, it was the right time to introduce more player and teacher participation in this south-east region of the country.

During the week, Liz Wilson (Rugby Programme Coordinator) placed Ed and Pete at Kiira, Liz worked with Oliver at Spire Road, Thomas led the way at Naranbhai, with Cameron and Mark teaming up with teaching staff as well as rugby enthusiast, Phil, at Victoria Nile primary.

Daily sessions went well, with a good level of involvement from local staff; Thomas even managed to slot in a morning of coach education with class teachers at his school.

G4S Uganda joined the Pride on Tuesday and Wednesday to lead Health & Safety briefing sessions with pupils at each school and were heavily involved in the preparation and facilitation of the tournament day, held on Friday 7th March at Jinja Nile RFC (now renamed Hippos RFC). Rwenzori provided the drinking water, with DHL Uganda adding more refreshments and a host of ‘yellow’ caps, clappers and prizes.

Liz told us:

“Overall I thought the week went very well, and the team really stepped it up, given that we had an additional school and 60 more participants than we have had in previous coaching weeks.

The level of rugby and game progression improved dramatically over the course of the week, culminating in the tournament.

It was great having G4S and DHL so involved on tournament day, too. Their presence was really felt. Also, the number of supporters from the community and the surrounding schools was far greater than in previous countries I’d coached in. Never have a team of students that weren’t participating come to support their school friends. There was also terrific assistance from Robert Bwali [RDO, Jinja] and the Lady Cranes [National Women’s Team], which helped made everything flow so well.”

Competitions Coordinator, Cameron Mackenzie, added (of the tournament, run on the Friday):

“It was so good to have the use of two big playing fields. Six pitches were marked out and, after the elimination rounds, we moved the kids onto the main rugby field (consisting of three pitches). We were lucky to have that much space to facilitate 240 children and this is the highest try-scoring tournament we’ve had so far, during this particular project.

For me, it was an overwhelming day; to see it all come together so smoothly. Great to have Bhubesi Pride’s team reach its common goal and brilliant to get the guys game coaching on the day, with locals refereeing each game.”

The stats

  • Primary schools involved: Spire Road, Naranbhai, Victoria Nile, Kiira
  • Participating pupils: 252
  • Percentage pupils participating in 3 or more sessions: 95%
  • Boy/girl ratio: 50:50
  • Additional special needs delivery: One session with 21 visually impaired pupils
  • Buddy coaches empowered: 14 (three achieving Level 1 assistant coach certificates; three Level 2; four Level 3; four Level 4)
  • School progression awards: All four schools attained a silver

See below more terrific project photos, courtesy team member Peter Cheek…

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