2018 saw Connecting Clubs return to Biratnagar, Nepal to continue our work on our flagship project, Cricket for Equality. Following the hard work of everyone involved, we managed to expand the scope of the project, reach more people, and put in place steps for a sustainable future.
Connecting Clubs has made great strides in 2018 and we are looking forward to going from strength to strength in 2019. Check out what we have been up to below and what we hope to achieve next year.
From December 5-19th our team was in Biratnagar running our second Cricket for Equality programme. Together with our local implementing partners, the Nepal Cricket Foundation, we expanded on our programme from last year with the sustainability of our work at the forefront of our minds.
Our team was led by our founder Angus Berry and he was joined in Nepal by Grace Mooring, an international education professional from Mott MacDonald, and Lee Booth from Cricket without Boundaries. Lee brought with him vast experience running sport for development projects, having coached in excess of 100,000 children across Africa, the Middle East, and in Europe.
Under Lee’s guidance we expanded the work we did in schools, reaching over 1,200 kids in our 10 days on the ground. In these schools we ran sessions that introduced cricket to the kids, including girls (which was often a new experience) focusing on quick, fun, and interactive sessions. This allowed us to embed our gender equality work into the sessions, using our time with the kids to understand their perceptions of gender, their issues, and their barriers to playing sport.
In addition we spend an extended period of time working with some of the most talented players in the region. It was once again amazing to see the enthusiasm and skill on show from a region that has been neglected by the governing bodies in Nepal. We used our time with these players to again dig into their ideas and concerns on gender issues and used every opportunity to promote equality and the importance of boys and girls working together.
All in all the trip was a major success, we went above and beyond what we achieved on our first visit, finding a method of engaging with many more people in our short time in country. I must stress my thanks to Lee for leading on all things cricket. His experience with Cricket without Boundaries was a major reason for our success and his enthusiasm for his work really pushed the rest of the team.
Again we are indebted to Avi and his team in Nepal, their hospitality, as always, was exceptional. So our 2018 project was a real learning curve, one that will stand us in very good stead going forward.
Volunteer programme for 2019
In 2019 we will be expanding our project in Nepal even further! In order to achieve more we need your help. So in 2019 we will introducing a volunteer programme for people that want to make a difference. Details will be announced in early 2019 for how you can get involved. We are looking for enthusiastic individuals, being a cricket nerd is not a requirement, but a can do attitude is a must!
Coaching programme for Nepal
To supplement the work we do in country we are working with our local partners to deliver a year-round coaching programme. Introducing cricket to schools, giving girls the opportunity to play, and spreading the message of the power of sport in making social change.
With the help of Lee and Cricket without Boundaries we are creating coaching materials and 10 week plan that can be rolled out across schools in Biratnagar. Lee ran coach education sessions in Nepal during our trip giving 6 local coaches the tools to drive change. They are determined to make a difference and we look forward to sharing progress in the New Year.
Hopes for 2019
2018 was a year that saw our Cricket for Equality project in Nepal grow and develop. We will be building on this success in 2019, expanding our project and looking at ways to spread our message into other parts of Nepal. Our focus remains of promoting gender equality through our work and with the foundations built during the last year we are hopefully for a fruitful 2019 in Biratnagar.
In addition, we are continuing to explore opportunities to implement a UK project, working with refugees and using cricket as a way of supporting their integration into local communities. We are in the early stages of planning this and we hope to develop a proof of concept by the middle of the year.
As always, we are on the lookout for partners to help us grow. We believe that our work in Nepal shows just how far a little money and time can go. With support we can do more work, better work, and have a more sustainable impact. We will continue to seek opportunities that support our aims in 2019.
A big thanks to everyone that has made 2018 a success. We are a small organisation trying to make a difference and we appreciate the support from everyone that believes in what we do. Here’s to a successful 2019 and I can’t wait to share what we are doing with you all!
Angus Berry, Founder - Connecting Clubs International