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Thursday, 17 December 2020 19:52

Wrapping up 2020

With 2020 drawing to a close, it’s time to look back on a strange, challenging but in many ways positive year for Cricket Without Boundaries.

Casting our mind back to January, the year got off to a flying start as we piloted a new project in South Africa, focused on promoting HIV self-testing through cricket. Working with partners at the Northerns Cricket Union and Ezintsha as our health partner, we delivered coach education and festivals to two of the regions where Northerns focus their outreach work; Hammanskraal and Mamelodi. While the next steps for the project could not happen due to COVID we are hopeful this project will return to the CWB schedule in 2021. You can read more about the project here.

South Africa

Between January and the March lockdowns, the CWB Ambassadors were kept busy, delivering 243 sessions between them, with each session attended by an average of 88 young people. 49% of participants in those sessions were girls, and in 4 out of 5 session HIV messages were delivered either through games, discussions, or using flashcards.

Some comments about sessions run in the Spring from our Ambassadors:

The coaches enjoyed the session and the children loved new competition involved, rapid fire and pairs cricket

Great sessions! Much emphasis was on bowling and fielding which went on well and all players enjoyed the sessions.

A good session with an invitee school to help with life skill lesson and HIV and AIDS awareness.

Excellent turn up and the teachers’ involvement given it's a newly introduced school was superb.

In February and early March our Rwanda and Kenya volunteer teams were able to deliver 2 of the 3 planned Spring projects. Team Rwanda worked with the Rwanda Cricket Association and Cricket Builds Hope to kick-start cricket in Rubavu and kept true to the values of CWB by ensuring people of all ages, genders and backgrounds had a great time playing cricket while busting HIV myths. You can read more about what they got up to, with some excellent videos, here.

Rwanda 2020

Meanwhile, team Kenya delivered our first “half-term” project. With this being school holidays in Kenya too, the project highlighted just how dedicated many of CWB’s young participants are as many children in Nairobi, Muranga and Nakuru donned their school uniform and arrived at school ready for sessions regardless of the school holidays. You can read more about the project here.

Between the two teams, another important task was collecting feedback on the brand-new information and discussion cards we have been developing with Avert. You can read the 6-month report on that work here.

With the lockdowns due to COVID-19 starting in March, schools were closed and play suspended. We tried our best to stay connected digitally, running online challenges and activities but the reality of the situation was that reaching all but a handful of our regular participants was rendered impossible. Our attention turned to supporting our Cricket Association partners in developing their safeguarding policies and processes, with helpful input from UNICEF, and ensuring our Ambassadors were supported through challenging and uncertain circumstances.

As small group coaching and social interaction gradually returned the Ambassadors threw themselves into doing what they could – delivering sessions in people’s back yards, innovating delivery of “compound” cricket and supporting other community efforts including action on providing menstrual hygiene products and preventing early marriage. Check out some footage from back yard coaching in Rwanda here.

You can hear from the Ambassadors on the impact of COVID-19 on their work, and their hopes for the future, here.

November saw the slow return to normal coaching and activities as schools began to reopen to some year groups. In the 6 weeks from November to mid-December 68 sessions were delivered to an average of 27 participants per session, the lower numbers reflecting the new restrictions faced in terms of group size. These sessions have also seen more boys returning to cricket than girls, and this is an inequality that we are aware of and will be looking to act on in the new year. A highlight of the return to cricket was Nicolas’ delivery of an end-of-year tournament, featuring plenty of game play, guest appearances from Kenya cricketers, and chats about HIV facilitated through our flashcards. Take a look at some photos from the day here.

South Zone

As an organisation, Cricket Without Boundaries is largely reliant on fundraising by our volunteers and supporters to deliver our programmes. We want to thank everyone who has supported CWB in this really challenging year – it has been vital. A special mention to a few groups in particular, including Marlborough College, Cambridge University Women’s Cricket Club and Stumps CC. Fundraising will be a key activity for CWB in 2021, with the aim of raising £15,000 over the course of the year to fully fund and expand the Ambassador programme. We kicked this effort off with a very well attended World AIDS Day zoom quiz in December. The event raised enough funding for 6 months of coaching by an Ambassador and was an enjoyable opportunity to reconnect and socialise with CWB volunteers and supporters.

From an organisational perspective, we welcomed our newest Trustee Matt Quaife, and long-time CWB volunteer Dave Terrace took over as Chair. He will be succeeded by Gary Shankland in 2021, and we will be looking to recruit additional new Trustees in the New Year. We were also pleased to be included in the organisations recognised for our commitment to working with refugee communities, as part of the UNHCR and IOC’s Global Refugee Forum.

While it is of course fantastic to be able to look back at what we were able to achieve despite everything in 2020, there were of course activities that had to be temporarily put on hold. With the prospect of vaccinations and a return to some normality on the horizon, the launch of planned work in Malawi is a priority for 2021, alongside continued work with our partners across East Africa and Cameroon. We will also be looking to build on our work with Right to Play in Jordan, where exciting progress has resulted in cricket being introduced to several schools.

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