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Loughborough University plays important role in first ever Zambian National Sport Development Conference

Loughborough University is proud to have played a significant role in the development of the first ever Zambian National Sport Development Conference, which takes place in Lusaka on the 27th and 28th July.

The University is part of the Wallace Group of seven of the best sporting universities in the UK, which is named after former Loughborough Vice Chancellor Sir David Wallace. The Wallace Group has worked in partnership with UK Sport and more recently also with ‘International Inspiration’, the latter being part of the 2012 legacy. With these partners Loughborough has contributed to the development of sport in some of the poorest communities in Zambia over the last ten years.

The conference will review progress to date as well as identifying future needs, and will be attended by Senior Government Ministers and officials. Primarily, the conference represents an important step in making development work both sustainable and of lasting benefit to the lives of young Zambians.

The conference also marks the tenth anniversary of sending UK students on placements to coach sport and help develop coaching in the country.  Taking place at the IOC sponsored Olympic and Youth Development Centre, the event will also focus on influencing plans for the next decade of sports development in the country.

Commenting on the success of the project, Loughborough University’s Director of Sport Tim Garfield said:

“I am delighted that after ten years of hard work by my colleagues and our students we have seen this conference come to fruition. We have provided ten years of ongoing support and intervention and this is a landmark moment for sport in Zambia, and we are proud to be playing our part.

“The conference will bring together representatives from Government, education, national sport federations and local communities, to jointly plan for the countries future sporting needs.  For the first time we will be working to a plan developed by Zambians to meet those needs and aspirations.”

Mel Paramasivan was a Loughborough student who went out on placement in 2009 and commented:

“The IDEALS programme was the springboard into my career. After volunteering in Zambia I was able to secure a job with a South African community sport and development organisation, where I gained practical international field experience and a holistic understanding of how sport can address and contribute to areas of international development and sport development.

“These skills have significantly supported job applications and helped secure roles in Switzerland and the UK, including a post with long-time partners of the programme, UK Sport. Through Loughborough University, I have widened my personal, academic and vocational achievements and I am very excited to see the Wallace Group of universities support Zambian colleagues in building a sustainable and mutual partnership that provides young Zambians with an environment that encourages sport and social development.”

The International Development Through Excellence and Leadership in Sport (IDEALS) is a UK Sport funded programme set up in 2006, which aims to establish high-quality sports leadership development exchange opportunities for young people through short term volunteer placements with local grass-roots sports organisations.

As part of IDEALS and as a member of the Wallace Group Loughborough University has sent several students each year mainly to the capital city of Lusaka.  The students visit for six week periods in the summer, volunteering to coach and run sessions in football, volleyball, basketball and netball.

The volunteer student who fund raise thousands of pounds before going work with sports leaders in the local community in an attempt to sustain sport throughout the year.. Not only do the students deliver sport, but the sessions also act as a vehicle to present workshops on HIV & Aids awareness for local people.