Spotlight on Africa: Coaching for Conservation

March has definitely been a month of sport around these parts. Meetings at a Premier League club, Sport and Social Responsibility Summit, Beyond Sport application deadline extensions and most importantly I actually made time to start running again!

I recently wrote a post about a great UK based social enterprise I’m involved with called Kick 4 Change and how they are engaging in proceedings for the forthcoming World Cup in South Africa.

Today I want to take a quick look at a grassroots sport project engaging local communities in Africa itself, in Botswana to be more specific.

Coaching for Conservation (which I far too often mis-pronounce as Conversation!) hit the limelight last year as a shortlisted award candidate at the inaugural Beyond Sport Awards in London. As well as hitting the headlines they also hit my email inbox when I offered Coethica’s services to all projects involved.

Before I tell you what they actually do at Coaching for Conservation I want to make it clear early that I’m also using this post to ask for help, in particular we need to help find:

  • A source (professional club, governing body, private company) of qualified football coaches (about eight) for 1 week in June and 1 week in July 2010
  • Communications assistance to improve publicity via social media and traditional press

Ok, keep reading, keep those two requests in mind, but if you can’t help yourself have a think about who you could connect us to who can.

Who, what and why?

Coaching for Conservation (C4C) is the primary social development programme of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust; a globally recognized wildlife research programme. Their mission is:

“To conserve Botswana’s natural resources by using sport to engender self-respect and inspire a generation of kids who care.

My first impression was that of intrigue. Sport, children, education AND wildlife conservation? I’ve stumbled across many variations on sport tackling social and environmental issues but this got me asking questions immediately. At the risk of severely over simplifying the concept, the core the hook is using coaches and educators as ‘animal mentors’ through various sport and education programmes to influence behaviour and attitude in youngsters.

After Skype discussions with C4C’s Director Lesley Boggs and earning a better understanding of the history of the project combined with challenging aspirational targets for growing the project and its scope, I have to say I’m very impressed.  C4C is one of those largely unsung inspirational ideas that has been forced into reality by passionate and committed supporters. I feel like too often I’m asking why sport isn’t playing a larger role in improving environmental conditions and it is so heart warming to find a fantastic concept, a robust operational foundation and in this case especially a not so distant future high profile platform to showcase yet again what can be achieved through sport.

C4C Director, Lesley Boggs, was recently invited to host a demonstration event for Day of the African Child on June 16th as part of her plans to make the biggest noise possible amongst World Cup excitement to springboard the project to a far wider audience.

Fore more information about C4C check out: Coaching for Conservation brochure or Lesley’s request for help here: Coaching for Conservation Needs Your Help

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is who do you know who wants to send coaches to Bostwana in June & July, or can offer communications assistance?

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