Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

Spring projects ready to depart

New CWB chief executive David Murray says he can't wait to begin his first project in Africa after attending the recent training weekend in Coventry.

The 32-year-old, who started his role at the turn of the year, joined more than 40 other volunteers at Finham Park School, in preparation for his upcoming trips to Kenya and Rwanda.

David will spend a week in both countries as he looks to gain more experience of CWB's work following his move from the Green Party.

He said: "For me it is a mix of excitement and nerves. I haven't been away from my kids for more than a couple of days so two weeks is going to be a test. I have been on social engagement projects to Indonesia and Honduras but I have never been to Africa and I have been told it's quite different. But that is exciting rather than nerve-wracking and I am really looking forward to experiencing the work CWB do first-hand."

As well as running two week projects to Kenya and Rwanda, CWB is also returning to Botswana, Uganda and Cameroon this spring. The training weekend provided an opportunity for volunteers to meet up, assign team roles and start putting the HIV/AIDS messages into their cricket coaching sessions.

The mix of new and returning volunteers included two that had travelled all the way from Norway. Tim Ward and David Kuwhlimfrom the Oslo Aliens cricket team head to Botswana in April with their fellow 'Alien' Simon Hunt. Last year they raised more than NOK 20,000 towards their trip by climbing the 6178ft Gautatoppen mountain in full cricket gear with three of their teammates.

Over the two days, the volunteers took part in HIV/AIDS awareness workshops, cricket coaching sessions and were also given information about their project countries. The training weekend also offered volunteers a taste of the charity's work through a number of video clips recorded in Africa. To view these click here.

David said he felt that the training weekend had been a great preparation for the upcoming projects.

He said: "I think there were three main take-home messages. First is the sense that it is really happening and the projects we are going on are real. Some volunteers may have applied up to 18months ago and now they are due out in just a few weeks. The training weekend provides a real springboard for Africa.

"It is also a fantastic opportunity to get to know the other people on your trip, to get rid of a few nerves and for teams to start to gel."

And he added: "Finally, it gets people thinking about how we can include HIV/AIDS messages in cricket sessions. A lot of people might understand the messages but I think the training weekend really helps to show how we put them into a cricket context."

As ever, CWB supporters will be able to keep up-to-date with all of our spring projects on the team blogs. The first trip goes out on Saturday 8th Feb.

A month into his new role David said he had been made to feel very welcome and was looking forward to throwing himself into the upcoming projects in Africa.

He said: "There is a very personal feel to the organisation which comes from the returning volunteers and the new people coming back and wanting to stay involved. From speaking to people I know that a lot of them have had life-changing or life-defining experiences through CWB trips.

"I am extremely excited to be able to get my hands dirty and get involved myself."



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