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31 Jul 2012

The LMA is proud to have supported the latest Coaching for Hope (CfH) project by assisting in the funding and arranging the coaching expertise of Kevin Blackwell who recently visited Burkina Faso to deliver football coaching sessions to a variety of disadvantaged groups.

He started on in Dori working with fellow coach, Darren Teague, where an introductory course to football coaching was run for a group of young miners in their Comic Relief funded “I have a Dream” project.  These young people work in illegal artisanal mines searching for gold and they have almost no alternative forms of employment.  Using football to bring the communities together CFH hopes to encourage families to let their children attend school rather than go down the mines.  Sport also provides a vital outlet for self-expression and fun.

Kevin’s next stop was at the under-resourced orphanage based in the village of Ipelce.  60 young people live and work in the orphanage from the ages of 3 months upwards.  This is all run by an inspirational man who used to be a cattle herder and gave up all his savings to help children who had lost their parents – he has since gone blind and is cared for by one of the young people who he helped. 

Kevin and Darren ran a sports event for the children and were so overwhelmed by the kindness and goodwill they found there Kevin has returned determined to help out.  One of the things the orphanage needs is a flat-bed truck which they will hire out to villagers and farmers in the area to move their crops and their harvests to market.  This will make profit for the children and will go towards their nutrition and education.  This is a really sustainable way of helping some of the poorest people on this planet.  The cost of a buying and maintaining a flat-bed truck would be £22,000.

Finally Kevin worked in the capital city Ouagadougou with a group of 25 Young Leaders who had been identified by CFH as having exceptional leadership skills. They were able to benefit from a 4 day master class in how to create a session plan, how to ensure that important areas such as warm ups, cool downs and strength and conditioning are included and how to grasp the correct content of a coaching structure.  The young people lapped this up and made many original contributions themselves and were all highly motivated to go away and put what they had learned into use back in their own towns and villages.

Having access to experienced coaches like Kevin is a great privilege for Coaching For Hope and is of enormous benefit to their African partners.  It gives them hope and inspiration and enables Coaching for Hope to continue supporting them in their work tackling issues such as substance misuse among young people, sexual health and the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Kevin Blackwell

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