Monday, February 23, 2015

Sustainability and the Community

Hello again! This week Duncan blogs on the theme of community & sustainability, while Rachid gives a recap of what was an extremely busy week for the team. 

Trainee teachers enjoying blind running at Pabre
This week brought with it two of the big events we've been planning for. On top of our by now routine sessions at CEFISE & ABPAM schools, we had two community awareness raising events. The first was at a teacher training college in a village called Pabre, just outside Ouagadougou. Just leaving the capital brings quite a different experience. Everything becomes much more spread out and there's livestock everywhere you look, but the welcoming atmosphere still remains. Having arrived at the teacher training college, we started by going through the theory of inclusive sport. After a slightly subdued start, HSB staff member Freddie (who lives in Pabre and had kindly arranged the visit for us) raised the atmosphere by talking passionately about the importance of inclusive sport. Though my understanding of what he said was somewhat limited, it was clear from the laughter of the trainee teachers that he was an extremely engaging speaker. After further theory from Rachid, Edy, Jonas & Will we went out into the sweltering heat to show the teachers a few adapted sports which they can use with children. Deaf football, boccia, blind running and goalball all went down a storm and will hopefully be utilised throughout schools in Burkina when these teachers graduate. The whole day was a really great experience, particularly as the teachers were so enthusiastic and threw themselves into getting involved both with questions about the theory and participating in the sports.

Our 'Water Ferry' game in action at Tampouy
Perhaps it was all the more enjoyable because activities like this may have a more long term impact – our sessions at CEFISE & ABPAM are fantastic but there's a sense that if ICS was discontinued they'd be back to square one with no sports at all for the children with disabilities. Teachers have increasingly been getting more involved in the sessions we run, but I'm not convinced they would carry them out without us there. That's why raising awareness of the need for everyone to be included in sports, and all aspects of society, is so important – so that when International Service no longer focus on inclusive sports all the project's gains won't be lost. By running the awareness session with the teachers of tomorrow, and in particular demonstrating how easy it is to adapt sports so that everyone can be involved, we hope that disability sport will become a key pillar of the Burkinabe curriculum. (To that end, our team leader Cat also spent last week working with the government to create a manual on how to lead inclusive sports sessions, so significant progress does seem to be on the horizon.)

Thursday was our community event in Tampouy and another great opportunity to prolong our impact by working with the local community. A couple of big speakers and some music was all it took to bring the community out, and once we had around 100 children milling about wondering what was going on, we split them into 5 groups to try out a variety of disability sports – goalball, boccia, unified football, blind running & water ferry (though the eventual highlight was undoubtedly an impromptu dance off between the children, refereed by Edy & Francis from the HSB & Arche teams). This was followed by an exhibition wheelchair basketball match with the local Tampouy team (and even a few members from their arch-rival Katre-yaare team, who managed to put aside their differences – it's usually a challenge even to get them in the same room - to promote the cause).

The dance-off begins
It's difficult to know what the local community, and especially the children, thought before the event about disability, but after witnessing the high quality wheelchair basketball game there's no doubt they will now realise just how capable people living with disabilities can be.  And it is this that was the key aim of our event, and indeed the key aim of our team: that no matter what sort of disability people live with there is no reason they cannot be included, and thrive, in the local community. It is the local communities that will decide whether our work is successful in the long term. It is they who can include or exclude people and it is they who can carry on our message and make sure the inclusivity we promote is sustainable. Hopefully the two events we put on this week have been small steps on the road to achieving this sustainability.

Duncan Hatfield

Early last week on Monday we were at CEFISE to start the day with sports as usual, and it was students from (CP1 hearing) who had the honor. We organized a team for four activities. Duncan and I did Balloon Volleyball; Jonah and Will the relay race; Jana and Moussa the slalom; Daryl and Yvette the hoop bounce game. And after returning to the office after sports we made the week’s schedule and had a meeting with HSB to discuss the training we needed to do at Pabre.

Goalball at Pabre
On Tuesday we were again at CEFISE accompanied by Kerry Jones, who is the head of ICS operations currently visiting Burkina. The session was with the hearing impaired students of CP1 and CP2. Always divided into four teams, Jonas and Jana did the relay; Moussa and Will did a bean bag throwing game; Duncan and Yvette were in charge of 'Les Jeux de Cercle; Daryl and I did Team Take. Then we went back to the office where we spoke with Kerry to review our activities and any problems we have faced during the programme. The meeting went well. Then we planned our session at Pabré.

On Wednesday, by 8 am already excited, we were on our way to Pabré. Once at the Private Training School for Primary School Teachers (EFPEP), we began our sports session after theoretical training about disability awareness. The theory section finished around 12 pm and then the sports finished around 14h. Then on the way back, we stopped at a maquis for refreshments. The day was very enjoyable.

The wheelchair basketball exhibition draws a crowd
On Thursday a part of the team consisting of Moussa, Yvette, Cath, Will and Jana were at ABPAM for sport and art with visually impaired students. Meanwhile the other part of the team was in the office preparing for a disability awareness session at Tampouy in the evening. At Tampouy we ran sessions of boccia, goalball, blind running, football, an envelopes surprise and a wheelchair basketball session to close the evening. We ran this event with the help of the other HSB and Arches teams. We were also visited by the Kabeela team leader Omar. It was a super event at Tampouy because the population there has massively participated and enjoyed the event.

On Friday, which marks the end of the working week, Jonah, Daryl, Djelika, Duncan and I went to ABPAM for sports with children of kindergarten, CP1 and CP2. And back in the office at 8:30 we joined the rest of the team where we took stock of the week's activities.

In summary, the week was incredibly busy and tiring but very amazing.

Big up everybody…

Moulay Rachid SOW

So that's all from the HSB-ISD team. It was a great week - hopefully the few remaining weeks will be just as enjoyable! Stay tuned to find out and remember to keep checking our Facebook & Twitter too for further updates. 

Facebook: Burkina Faso Inclusive Sport

Twitter: @BF_Inclusive

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