Dan’s Blog: The Ghana and Kenya teams waved goodbye to our football teams this week after an incredible two weeks in Africa.
Derby County Community Trust, West Ham United Foundation, Aston Villa in the Community, Burton Albion Community Trust and Nottingham Forest in Community took a combined total of 80 supporters to work at six of our partner projects virtually as soon as the final whistle was blown on the English football season.
After a disappointing end to their campaign that saw the team unexpectedly finish outside the Championship play-offs, Derby County’s representatives were keen to make sure that their fourth annual trip to Kenya with us was more successful – and thankfully it was!
Working with St. Trizah, Destiny’s Children’s Centre and Ungana Academy projects, the teams built a new classroom, new kitchen, two new security fences and repaired a further four classrooms.
Katherine, Project Co-ordinator at Ungana Academy, sent me a great email earlier this week explaining; “I am so grateful for this team again. They did even more than last year and they are such good people with good hearts. They can consider Ungana a home from home.”
Fred Egesa, our In-Country Co-ordinator in Kenya, has worked with Derby County on each of their last four trips and was equally impressed with the impact they made during a conference call to the UK office earlier this week. “I remember when Paul and his team first came to Kenya back in 2012 and they brought a team of 13. To see how they have grown but, more importantly, what they have done here in Nakuru is just wonderful.”
Over in Ghana, Burton Albion Community Trust and Nottingham Forest in the Community made their return to the Volta region after successful first trips this year with bigger teams ready to return at Woe EP and Tegbi EP!
Dennis Dogbe, our In-Country Co-ordinator in Ghana was delighted to welcome the two clubs back to Ghana. “The projects recognise that these football teams can teach them new skills, especially in sports. The coaches here are not very well qualified and in fact the coaches themselves were more excited by their presence. These new skills will last a lifetime.”
Whilst acknowledging all the incredible work that the teams put into their projects over the past two weeks, as a dedicated Southampton FC fan, I was happy that Siva, who visited the UK in April, reminded me where his allegiance lies!
Rivalries aside – as Nottingham Forest and Derby County should know as well as anybody! – I have to say that it has been incredible to see how the power of sport can genuinely be used as a tool to affect social, sporting and economic change.
From reaching out to sports fans in the first place to encouraging more young people to take up sport, it cannot be questioned that the true impact of these trips will last far longer than the two weeks they took to complete.
All the best,
UK Development Manager