Monday, October 14, 2013

Our First Week at Work

Week 3- The first stages of putting our plans into action.


“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living”

9 to 5- Dolly Parton


It is Friday afternoon and Andrew is sitting in the office absolutely exhausted by the events of the week. We have hit the ground running with work and there has been no sound in the office but the soft clicking of fingers on laptop keys.

            “So what have you been doing?” I hear you cry. Well, Summer and Denis have been hard at work planning sessions in football for the deaf which we hope to begin delivering within the next few weeks, Andrew and Roland have drafted questions for an interview with a local P.E teacher who is going to help them better understand the issues surrounding all inclusive sports education and so this information might help us to be more prepared when working to promote the development of inclusive sport in the school curricula.    

During our planning sessions last week, we discussed the idea of creating 4 case studies, these studies would each feature one athlete from each disability grouping. The individual stories would be widely circulated and afford people in Burkina and abroad the chance to get to know the athletes on a personal level. Zahra has been generating interview questions that will hopefully allow the athletes to communicate how and why they first became involved in sport and the obstacles they face when trying to compete on an international level. We have also planned to incorporate this information in the development of a promotional video for the committee and for use in funding applications, with this end in mind Andrew has been designing the content of the video and is liaising with the Research Team to see what they would like to see in the video and what would be useful for them.

Zahra and I have also been industrious this week in revising and improving the content of a number of raising awareness talks on inclusive sport which will target able-bodied persons and those living with a disability alike. The talks will target people of different ages with a variety of abilities and we hope to deliver them to schools, sports clubs and disability rights organisations. We have reviewed 2 of the talks and have another 2 that still need to be developed. During this week we also visited an organisation in Ouaga called ARCHE which hosts and cares for people with mental and physical disabilities and works to enrich their lives and empower them through physical tasks such as gardening, sports and art. We will be conducting sports sessions at ARCHE on a weekly basis for a number of weeks and after leaving the facility Andrew remarked how he felt both positive and excited about our future work with this organisation and their service users.

 Now to complete the ‘Meet the Team’ section of our blog, you have already met all the UK volunteers but you do not yet know the national volunteers Roland and Denis and our team leader Nicté.

 Roland Fayama is 28 and from Banfora in the southwest of Burkina Faso, he has been a national volunteer with the International Service for 13 months and was previously a volunteer with Coaching for Hope where he attained a level 1 ‘Football and Disability Coaching’ certificate from the League Manager Association. He enjoys volunteering with the ‘Inclusive Sport Team’ because he believes that we should endeavour to give people with disabilities the same opportunities as the able-bodied to be involved in sport. The aspect of his work that he enjoys the most is working with the visually impaired and blind athletes at ABPAM, there he has found so many young people who really want to play sports but face difficulties and we are working to change that. Roland remembers when he first started volunteering with the International Service on the ICS programme, he helped to organise a hand-cycling competition and was impressed to see the competence of disabled athletes and recognised the need to help them organise themselves and to conduct professional training programmes in order to afford them the opportunity to improve. With this current cohort he is looking forward particularly to working with schools and sports clubs in and around Ouaga to raise the profile of disability sport and inclusive sport through raising awareness talks and taster sessions in the hope that we can begin to foster an environment in Burkina where people with disabilities are included rather than excluded from society and sport.

Random fun facts about Roland- in his free time he enjoys reading, meeting people and socialising, playing sports with friends, working to improve his English and other skills and he likes to plan how he can continue to help after this volunteering placement is over.

                 Denis Dangouri is 28 and from Pô in the south of Burkina Faso, he has also been volunteering with the International Service for 13 months and has a level 3 ‘Football and Disability Coaching’ qualification. He decided to volunteer with the ICS scheme to gain more experience in planning and delivering coaching sessions and to learn more about the aims and objectives of the International Service and the ICS programme. Working with UK volunteers allows Denis to engage in a cultural exchange, whereby both British and national volunteers can learn from each other. His fondest memory of volunteering with the International Service thus far is when he and a group of volunteers spent a month living in the village of Ipelcé (south of Ouaga) working with schools and orphanages to raise awareness of HIV and conducting sports and art activities, the children were really receptive to what the volunteers had to say and he enjoyed his time with them. In the next 8 weeks Denis is looking forward to working with us and trying to build something which will continue to grow in the coming years.

Random fun facts about Denis- he enjoys playing and watching football and is a Chelsea fan! He loves listening to African music from Ivory Coast and also has a cheeky listen to Céline Dion every now and again.

                 Nicté Garcia Soria is our team leader, she is 27 and from a village called Alfarp which is in the province of Valencia, Spain. She has been in Ouaga for 4 months and 11 days and has another 6 months left in this wonderful city. She applied to the ICS programme because she wanted to gain field work experience and has previous experience volunteering with the Red Cross in Spain teaching new comers Spanish. Nicté’s degree is in Translation and Interpreting Studies and she has a particular interest in the social studies field. Prior to coming to Burkina Faso she was living and working in Loughborough, UK as a ‘Knowledge and Evaluation Officer’ for the Youth Sport Trust. She’s enjoying her time here but admits that in the first month it was difficult to adapt to the climate and Burkinabe diet (rice is eaten in abundance here). In the coming months she is looking forward to seeing the capacity of our partner organisation increase and build its own legacy and more specifically for this cohort in particular she is eager to begin the educative aspect of our work and visit schools with our Inclusive Sports talks and sessions because she believes it is important to introduce young people to the idea of acceptance and tolerance at an early age. 

Random fun facts about Nicté- she can speak 6 languages including Catalan, German, French, English, Italian  and of course her native Spanish (we all find this very impressive). In her free time she is learning to play the ukulele and she enjoys dancing and singing at every opportunity. She loves travelling, has visited 3 continents and has travelled alone around Mexico. Like Zahra, Nicté’s name also means ‘flower’.

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