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Women and Girls

Participation and Development

Underpinning the whole of our programme, and inline with Zambian Government initiatives, through the community hub sites our aim is to work with Sport in Action to support positive perceptions on women and girls in sport, helping to break down barriers, increase participation and develop leadership opportunities.

What is a community hub site?

A hub site is a central venue within the community, offering sport specific training and competition. Located, owned and run within the community they serve, the sites are focused on the creation of pathways, the empowerment and development of young individuals within the community (primarily women and girls), and have an underlying focus on sustainability.

Community Hub Site Stats

Over 2500 new netball players

21 female coaches accredited by Zambia Netball

Over 60% of community leaders are female

Over 2500 engaged in women’s football

Where did it all begin?

Jessica Kaluwe, is from Lusaka, Zambia, where she is a resident of a community named Matero. The bustling community of Matero is located in the shadow of Zambia’s National Heroes Stadium, and is home to around 57,000 residents. It is known as a city within the city, and has been since the community was constructed back in 1952. Matero has been and remains a busy community that continues to grow and expand, with many smaller communities emerging from its reach.

In 2018 Jessica reached out to Wallace Group Project Manager, and Sport In Action Sport Development Manager, Jack Preston, expressing her passion for Netball, highlighting the passion for sport and self-help in her community. At this time Jack was not in the country due to resolving VISA applications. So instead of being able to meet hands on, he sent the Hub-Site toolkit, and 2 months later, upon returning to Zambia, Jessica had created and nurtured a fully-fledged hub-site engaging over 150 girls from her community in Netball and Life-Skills initiatives. Which has now grown to over 450 young girls from her community alone.

What is a Hub-Site?

The hub-site that Jessica had created is something to behold. The hub-site initiative is a new take on development work that gives the power, and decision making, along with the power of support to the community itself, creating long lasting and sustainable development and change.

A hub site is a central venue within the community, offering sport specific training and competition. Located, owned and run within the community they serve, the sites are focused on the creation of pathways, the empowerment and development of young individuals within the community (primarily women and girls), and have an underlying focus on sustainability.

Hub-Sites across the city of Lusaka has seen a spike in the development work, and number of local individuals committed to supporting the development of their own community and the residents that live there. Sport in Action the Zambian NGO, pioneer this initiative in Zambia, supported by the British based NGO The Wallace Group, comprised of a collection of the UK’s best Universities. The Hub-sites have not only developed communities in their locational sense, but by partnering and working to meet the desired needs of the National Sports Federations and Ministry of sport, they have opened up countless doors for individuals to progress into prominent roles with these organisations and reach even more young, vulnerable people who can benefit from everything a hub-site has to offer.

More than sport

The undeniable vehicle for change the hub-sites uses is Sport and its ability to engage such high capacities of participants, leaders and supporters. However, the sport itself is not necessarily what always creates the most powerful change directly. Cue Jessica, and her incredible story picks back up. Jessica as her hub- site has combined her two passions Netball, and craftmanship. Jessica has engaged over 450 young girls within her community in netball, through the medium of her hub-site. Once engaged, Jessica has been teaching the girls how to create and make small items for themselves to generate themselves some income to support their families, keep them out of vulnerable or dangerous situations and to raise funds to go back to school. They utilise anything they can, making door mats from woollen jumper materials, to jewellery from scrap items they find, they have even learnt how to make and craft Netball Dresses for their netball games and tournaments! Incredible!

Award winning

Last year Jessica and the young girls from Matero entered an entrepreneurial competition/course led by Junior Achievement Zambia, courtesy of the partnership with Sport in Action. The competition saw 10 young girls educated on the creation and process of how to run their own small businesses. It also saw Matero take away the national prize for Zambia as the best community led business idea.

Where are we now?

Matero continues to thrive and has hundereds of young girls engaged in the programme led by Jessica and Sport In Action. The craft initiative, has gained further traction and has now spread to other communities across the capital city, Lusaka. With so many young girls engaged in such a positive life experience and potentially life changing learning process, it is paramount that this is supported in whatever way we can. The girls in Matero, will have a new netball court post COVID-19 as long as Sport in Action plans remain the same (no reason for them to change). However a more prominent issue at this point in time is enabling the young girls and Jessica to generate further exposure and potentially income to support school fees, family support among other things. Currently they are only selling their products to the community they stay in and neighbouring communities. The products they create are top quality, bright and vibrant with a real African traditional twist to them, with beautiful chitenge creating the visuals for the finished products. Jessica has also (informally for now, but will be official post COVID-19) been appointed as Sport in Actions Girls in Action development officer (Girls in Action is the life skills arm of SIA). She has pledged to and already started planting the seeds for the initiative to take off in other community hub-sites, and already this has begun in Chibolya and Kaunda Square, two of Zambias most populated compounds. Making the potential for this initiative to change lives, immense.

Coach to National Coordinator

Monica Chidila, is from Lusaka, Zambia. A keen netball enthusiast and with a background in counselling. Monica first arrived on the scene as the coach of our first ever created hub-site in Mtendere. Even back then Monica was clearly an approachable individual and the children not only from her own school and team, but the whole hub-site looked to her as a strong female role model.

Monica took the mantle of Competition Manager at the Mtendere Netball Hub-site and carried out her role with aplomb. Taking the lead on organising the fixtures, the operations of how the game days should look, and the points and scoring system, even managing the officiating rotas for the games.

A few months on and Monica came with news that due to family reasons she would have to move to a new community to live, in Kaunda Square. With this, Monica expressed her desire to replicate what had been created in Mtendere, in her new home, Kaunda Square. She wanted to step into the shoes of hub-site coordinator, not of an existing hub, but to create one of her own, to support and provide hope to a community she would be calling home. Monica used the toolkit, and began chipping away and creating her own hub-site, and within a matter of months it was flourishing, and even gained great recognition from Netball Zambia for its impact in Kaunda Square.

With over 150 new girls participating, from schools, church groups and the community at large, Monica had created an impactful vehicle for change in her new community. As numbers grew, and young leaders continued to emerge to support her in the leadership committee, Sport in Action, supported by the Perfect Day Foundation pledged to build a brand new court in Kaunda Square to replace the court marked out in the grass and dust, at Kiine Community School. The new court brought new life, and new hope to an already flourishing hub-site.

Fast forward another few months and the hubs growth had continued with hub-sites populated every corner of the capital and even branching into new provinces. The hub-sites needed a leader, someone who understands the hub-sites on all levels, a strong leader with the traits and character that epitomises what the hubs are all about. Once again, up steps Monica, our National Hub-Site Coordinator.

Monica is a prime example of someone who has taken every opportunity put in front of her, and grasped it with both hands, not only for her own personal development, but with her desire to see communites thrive and young women and girls treat opportunity in their own lives with the same zeal she has in hers. Her vision, commitment and drive will lead the hub-sites into the future and we can’t wait to see what comes next for both Monica and the Hub-Sites.

Girls in Action

Girls in Action (GIA) is a girls programme produced by Sport in Action, which uses sport and recreational activities to educate and share information with young females on HIV, AIDS, health and social issues and gender by imparting life skills which empower girls to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

Girls in Action is implemented in all Sport in Action sites and placements and the target group are girls in the age range of 12 to 20 years. The programme features fun filled activities to make uncomfortable and difficult topics easier to talk about. Activities include: girls forums in and out of school workshops, quizzes, tournaments and leagues, educational tours and exchange visits.

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