Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sustainable development from the Inclusive Sports Education team

The work that the education team has been doing has taken a number of different directions, some more sustainable than others. The sports education side of our work has been effective on a personal level, as it has helped to improve the lifestyle and self-esteem of the children with disabilities with which we have worked. Its sustainability is an issue however, as once we have left, should the ICS scheme not be renewed, what legacy will we have left? And how will our work be improved upon?

This is a problem around which we have thought a lot, and consequently we have made efforts to improve the sustainability of our work. In terms of working with the partner organisations, at both ARCHE and CEFISE we have sought to get staff involved at every opportunity, so that they can learn about the sports, and continue independently of IS once the scheme has finished. This has been particularly fruitful at ARCHE, where we have introduced Boccia. ARCHE are now competing at regional and national levels, and this is possible because the staff there now have experience in Boccia.

We have also continued with our raising awareness planning, and we are hoping to build on what we achieved at Sapone, with events at the University of Ouagadougou and at Burkina Faso’s second city- Bobo-Dioulasso.

On a purely practical level we have been building inclusive and adapted sports equipment to use with the partners. We have made a target board with different size holes and different shapes for throwing practice. We have also made some wooden hoops and targets for practicing accuracy with throwing. Both of these are excellent coaching tools for improving accuracy, something which is crucial for Boccia. Boccia equipment has also been a focus point, as it is very expensive to buy new. Consequently we have looked to make adapted Boccia equipment, and improve upon the balls that are currently used, which are socks filled with rice and sand. This has not been an easy task but with Ross Georgeson, programme director for the Paralympic teams, at the creative helm anything is possible, and he is currently making prototype Boccia balls out of sand and sawdust.

With less than 3 weeks now left on placement we are having a last big push as we shift our focus towards the events at the university and at Bobo. Changing attitudes towards disability and disability sport in Burkina Faso is the most significant area of our work, and if we as a team can reduce stigma around it and improve mentalities towards it for the long term, we will have succeeded in leaving a positive legacy through our work with the Inclusive Sports Education team.



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