With the power of sport to effect change highlighted by the World Cup, eight students and four staff from the University of Gloucestershire are heading to Africa on Wednesday to make a difference of their own.
After months working preparing workshops to meet the needs of partners in Malawi, and raising £5000 to allow us to subsidise conference attendees, they will be hosting seven conferences up and down Malawi entitled “The Power of Sport”.
Each conference has around 80 to 100 attendees, and a selection of 10 workshops will be on offer to the Malawi participants, covering themes of sport and outreach, sport for development, sport within an education curriculum, and the application of sports programmes in the community, such as HIV/AIDS education.
Elizabeth Annett, trainee chaplain at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “Sport Malawi is an initiative centred on a partnership between the University significant actors and agencies within the church, sport, education, and development in Malawi. The initiative focuses on the promotion of sport for the purposes of indigenous outreach and development, an aim currently facilitated through annual regional conferences in Malawi involving students and staff. All of our work is planned to maximise participation, dialogue, and creative and experiential co-learning, and we’re planning to send back a short update of our work throughout the trip.”
Malawi is a small nation in southern Africa with a population of about 13 million. It is one of the least developed countries with very low life expectancy. Two thirds of the population live below the national poverty line and more than one in five people live in ultra poverty – unable to afford basic minimum food requirements.
Population growth, fertility, maternal and child mortality rates are among the highest in Africa and 46% of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. Families and communities are grappling with HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, dependent upon increasingly unpredictable rains to support subsistence farming on severely depleted soils in a deteriorating natural environment. 85% of the population lives in rural areas on landholdings of diminishing size. Anyone who would like to support this trip please visit www.justgiving.com/sportmalawi2010.

Source: University of Gloucestershire