From the very first session that Abby and I attended, we were blown away by just how proud the Kabwata community were of their newly renovated playpark, and the welcome we received from Katambi and Agness our peer leaders was truly awesome. From Day 1, we knew we were onto a winner.
Over our 6 weeks, my primary role was to support ‘Coach Abby’ with a wide range of basketball drills covering key skills such as lay-ups, shooting, dribbling and footwork as well as Outreach with local schools, churches and community groups. The immense improvement that we saw in the players from U12, U15 and Girls was incredibly rewarding, especially given the hard work they put in during each and every session as well as greeting us with a warm smile and high-fives every morning without fail.
One of many highlights was our work with St Patrick’s Girls School when we hosted various taster sessions, delivering to 60+ girls, many of whom were beginners. With no basketball hoops and a court consisting of a small area of concrete, we got creative and taught the girls passing, footwork and even included some team games to finish. What was even more inspiring was seeing many of the same players triumph at our Communithr33 tournament 2-weeks later.
As we battled against the busyness of school end of term exams, we were thrilled to welcome 140+ players from Kabwata, Kafue, Matero and Munali to the Kabwata Playpark for the first ever 3v3 Communithr33 tournament. With a gazebo, DJ and refreshments put on, the games were a huge success, impressing the wide range of VIPs in attendance. If we ever needed one moment to drive home our ‘why’ behind what we were doing, this was it. Seeing the Kabwata Boys and St Patrick’s succeed in front of a huge audience was a truly unforgettable moment.
It would be impossible to choose one favourite aspect of the past six weeks but here’s one example that stands out especially. When running each session, Abby and I came to be incredibly impressed by the leadership shown by some of our youngest players, able to translate many of our instructions as well as suggest drills of their own. In particular, one of the U12s ran two separate drills by himself with absolute confidence on many mornings!
The Kabwata Basketball training on offer is so much more than learning new basketball skills and improving match fitness. What Katambi and Agness are doing for the local community is truly remarkable, with life skills lessons covering topics from freedom of speech to Girls in Action related issues such as pregnancy and equal rights. The hub-site is truly at the centre of all that is good in the community. To have contributed even a small part to helping grow its impact is a feeling I’ll never forget, from regularly reaching 15+ girls per session to providing two coaching workshops that have helped contribute to the development of local leaders within the Kabwata area.
Like a basketball team itself, it’s the sum of individual efforts as a collective that helps to accomplish incredible results.