The Wallace Group, of which Loughborough University is one of the seven founding members, works alongside UK Sport to organise the Volunteer Zambia programme (formerly Zambian Ideals) where students and staff volunteer their time each summer in sport related community projects.
The Wallace Group has been sending specialist sports and media students out to Lusaka for over a decade to work with local volunteers to deliver school PE lessons, community sports programmes and health awareness workshops within the deprived areas of the city’s compounds.
Visiting for the first time, Professor Allison had the chance to see the reciprocal impact Loughborough students and staff have in Zambia thanks to their work with alongside local organisation Sport in Action. VC Bob also had the opportunity to meet with the University of Zambia’s Vice Chancellor Luke Evuta Mumba to share knowledge about starting sport-based degree programmes in sports administration and sports management, as well as discussing potential future research opportunities.
Professor Allison also had the opportunity to meet with prominent political figures in Zambian sport, including the Director of Sport for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Culture & Child Development, Bessie Chelemu.
On his trip, Vice Chancellor Robert Allison commented:
“The work that I have seen in Zambia is inspirational. It is transforming the lives of young people and demonstrates the power of sport in a local community. I am particularly proud of the contribution that our students are making to the lives of young people in Zambia.
“I want to thank everyone from the University who is involved in the Zambia work. I do not exaggerate when I say it was a humbling experience to see the impact of our work, particularly amongst children who have had some of the toughest lives I have encountered. The smiles on their faces and level of personal ambition is a testament to how we are having a positive impact.”
MSc student Hannah Thompson spent six weeks in Zambia last summer, providing media, marketing and communication support, as well as coaching football at one of the placement sites Fountain of Hope. Of her experience she said:
“Volunteer Zambia was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The opportunity to learn new skills in an environment so different to home was something I will never forget. For me, the independence of living in another country and meeting people from a completely different culture was incredible. I keep in contact with the people I met a year later. The transfer of knowledge and challenging environment for media and marketing support aided in enhancing my problem-solving skills and communication skills massively.
“Seeing the excitement on the children’s faces when you coached them, the respect and the talent showcased was amazing. I feel Volunteer Zambia has become a part of my identity now, and the confidence I took away from the experience has really transformed me as a person.”
To find out more about the volunteer programme or to support future endeavours please click here