Pride eyes: Nairobi, Kenya
In recent years, the charity has been very grateful to a handful of Pride members who have created fantastic written articles to showcase our project work in the field. Last year, Johanna Waide from Australia joined us for 5 months, engaging our partners and stakeholders in-country and telling the story through her eyes…
Seeking to build on this approach, Bhubesi Pride Foundation has asked its 2018 Pride members to take turns reporting on the work of the charity in Africa this year through ‘Pride eyes’. We hope that this format will give us all a chance to understand life ‘inside the Pride’ while appreciating the extensive network and support our community work enjoys from our African friends and partners.
To help us on this journey for Rugby in Africa 2018 is American 5-month Pride member, Michael Hendricks, who takes up the role of editor, with photos coming from our wonderful Media Producer, Matea Ilieva.
Here’s our first instalment from our first couple of weeks in Africa this year…
Pride eyes: Nairobi, Kenya
- Words: Jo Cremin
- Images: Matea Ilieva
- Edited by: Michael Hendricks
Bhubesi Pride Foundation’s 2018 expeditions commenced in Nairobi on 28th January, with the initial team of Pride members meeting at Braeburn Garden Estate School, our home for the following two weeks.
After an initial afternoon and evening of getting to know each other – and receiving our official welcome into ‘the Pride’ with a kit presentation – it was straight into the classroom for our orientation sessions… learning more about life inside the Pride, focusing on what we hoped to accomplish during our time in Africa and the legacy we would leave behind.
It wasn’t all about the classroom though, with opportunities to watch a school production of ‘An Inspector Calls’, a visit to a giraffe sanctuary where we all took a leap of faith and kissed some giraffes (lots of ‘good bacteria’ in their saliva, so I’m told), and an amazing safari drive through Nairobi National Park, topped off with lunch at the stunning Ololo Lodge. And of course, all the while, plenty of 6 Nations viewing – those without teams seemingly agreed to just root for whoever was playing England!
Over the course of the coaching week, the Pride delivered coaching to four schools in one of Nairobi’s slum areas, Mathare. It was clear from the start that the schools were very proud of their repeat participation in BPF’s programme, given the excitement of the children we saw on our orientation visits.
Previous Pride members had left a lasting mark that we felt fortunate to inherit and build upon.
At a launch event at G4S Kenya’s head office, the principal of St. Theresa’s Girls School, and one of her students, spoke of the positive impact BPF’s program had on them individually and on their community altogether.
“To play rugby, you need to consider your team as your family.”
Sofia Domingos, 2018 BPF Project Manager
“The minute you believe in yourself, you’re not going to set boundaries. And if we can put a tool out there for the children, there’s no stopping them.”
Yvette Miyoma, Marketing and Communications Specialist, G4S Kenya
BPF Pride members were also involved in working with coaches from Shamas Rugby Foundation and Community Rugby Association (CRA), not only during coaching sessions at the schools, but also in some direct ‘coach the coach’ sessions held at Braeburn Garden Estate School.
We set strong objectives about wanting to equip local coaches with skills and techniques to grow the game, year round. The sessions were a great chance for everyone to put coaching theory into practice in developing, delivering and executing games and drills.
We encouraged everyone to ask questions and share ideas and the collective output was fantastic. The second session also allowed Pride Members to show their youthful enthusiasm (not that that needed much encouragement) by requiring them to act as unruly children, to really test how the other coaches overcome these challenges during their sessions.
“Rugby is part of my daily life. It’s my spoon, my plate, it’s just everything for me. This is what I do from Monday to Monday, working with children from vulnerable backgrounds.”
Randy, Shamas Rugby Foundation coach, Nairobi
There was a strong focus on positive reinforcement – the use of key words to help players – and on asking broad questions when checking for understanding with the players.
As well as the school and coach-the-coach sessions, our BPF team were kept busy running some additional sessions with CRA coaches at Cheleta primary school, KCA University, Blessed and New Life.
Throughout our Nairobi coaching program, BPF collaborated exceptionally well with Yvette Miyoma and the rest of her G4S Kenya team – who were such enthusiastic participants at coaching sessions and on tournament day – building on months, even years [of program development] of careful preparation and build-up. Without their partnership, the week, and especially tournament day, could not have been the successes that they were.
In addition to a bespoke leadership & values workshop with Rory, Olivia and Patrick, G4S Kenya employees participated in some one-on-one coaching with BPF Pride members ahead of school sessions, and even played a game of touch against Pride coaches on tournament day.
Our Nairobi tournament day was a great success, with a combined 280 children from the four schools playing alongside demonstration games between CRA teams. Once the children’s tournament was complete, a small adults tournament was played between G4S, CRA, Shamas, Pride coaches and two teams from British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), who had been supporting the different schools all morning, and giving out some mini rugby balls to all the children. Two BATUK coaches supported the coaching sessions during the week.
“My core business here is to ensure every girl that goes through my hands excels in all fields… The life skills they are learning in rugby have really helped them to be human actually; to respect each other, to accept themselves, and face the challenges in their lives.”
Gladys Kanyi, Headteacher, St. Teresa’s Girls School, Nairobi
Nairobi coaching program in numbers
- Number of participating schools/communities: 4 (Thika Road, Drive Inn, St. Teresa’s Girls and St. Teresa’s Boys primary schools)
- Number of children coached: 280
- Boys / girl ratio: 50 / 50
- Percentage of children participating in 3 or more sessions: 71%
- Number of participating local coaches: 11
- Number of participating local coaches awarded a BPF coach certificate: 8
The Pride retired to Braeburn’s staff bar to inspect sunburns and enjoy some more 6 Nations festivities ahead of hitting the road to Uganda the following day.