Seven volunteers from the United Kingdom-based charity organisation, Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB), arrived in Botswana this past Sunday to help spread the game of cricket as well as life skills to the youth.
The volunteers, all of whom cricket coaches, are expected to spend two weeks in the country.
Speaking in an interview, the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Secretary ÔÇô Fixtures and Publicity, Sumod Damodar, said the volunteers will spend a week in Gaborone and surrounding areas before spending another in Francistown and surrounding areas. During their stay in the country, the volunteers are expected to conduct training programmes in various places where the BCA has development programmes.
Damodar said that the volunteers will be accompanied by the BCA’s development coaches during their two weeks stay in the country.
“Some of these volunteers are level 1 and level 2 coaches and we believe they can help our developmental coaches during their stay. While we have our own development programmes and coaches, the UK, as you may know, is a test playing cricket powerhouse and they obviously have more refined programmes than us and these volunteer coaches have some added skills that we can use,” said Damodar.
He added that apart from teaching cricket while in the country, the volunteers will also impart life skills to the youth while also hosting coaching programmes for potential cricket development coaches and umpires.
He said the programmes are open to both teachers and other volunteers, including parents who may feel interested in being involved in cricket.
As part of their life skill training programmes, Damodar said the volunteers include HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns into their coaching sessions. According to the BCA Secretary, these programmes go a long way into complementing whatever programmes the BCA has put in place to help build the youth.
“Our aim is not just to produce fine cricketers, but rather to produce well rounded individuals. Our emphasis, when dealing with the youth, is on healthy living as well as academic excellence,” he explained.
Whilst in Gaborone, they will conduct programmes in Ramotswa, Moshupa, Kanye and Molepolole. Accordingly, when they are in Francistown, they will conduct similar activities in Masunga and Francistown.
While some schools have been chosen to host the volunteers, to ensure that most of their development programmes benefit, Damodar said they arrange for most of them to be involved in training sessions close to them.
Meanwhile, the BCA Secretary said local cricket has benefited a lot from the volunteers ever since they started visiting the country four years ago. He said at the time, the CWB visit was only done once a year but due to a lot of progress that is being made in Botswana, the visits have been increased to two times a year. He added that while they cannot quantify the impact these programmes have had on their youth players, they are optimistic that they are having a positive impact as they continue to retain most of their youth players.