In October, Joanne (PeacePlayers NorthernIreland), Nora and Rochelle (PeacePlayers Global Support Team) traveled to Rwanda to lead a series of trainings with coaches and staff from Ubumwe Sports Initiative, an organization that is using sport as a means to enhance unity among Rwandan youths while supporting Rwandan basketball development. Funded by Comic Relief (UK), PeacePlayers started a two-year partnership with the Rwandan non-profit in February 2018, working hand in hand with Ubumwe to scale their low-cost, volunteer-led initiative for youth basketball and peace-building into eight highly populated districts in the country.
Together, PeacePlayers and Ubumwe are leading a series of national, regional and city-level coaches trainings that will train hundreds of basketball coaches in Rwanda in positive youth coaching and PeacePlayers’ peace-building curriculum. The project will create sustainable peace-building and basketball programming that will engage over 900 youth, ages 8 to 18 years old, to learn, share and grow with people from different tribal backgrounds. On this trip, our PeacePlayers staff led two trainings, one in the capital, Kigali, and another in Rubavu, with coaches from all over the country.
As Nora put it, “Our week in Rwanda was amazing! We led positive coaching trainings every morning and participated in their basketball skills training each afternoon followed by a fantastic lunch. We were blown away by the level of commitment of all of the coaches and staff, and really enjoyed getting to get to know all of them—in three languages (English, French and Kinyarwanda!). The energy was high every single day, whether we were having a discussion or trying to keep a ball up in the air during Taps. They really embodied Ubumwe’s slogan, “Ubumwe Busaba Ubafatanye” (unity takes teamwork), and it was an honor to work with all of them. Special thank you to Claude, Denis, Jacques and Mushumba!”
Outside of trainings, they were able to learn about the country and In Kigali, tour the Rwandan Parliament building and the Genocide museum. They learned about the history of the country, the conflict in its recent past and how it is working to re-build itself with different development efforts. Thanks to the second training site in Rubavu, they were able to explore the beautiful Land of a Thousand Hills, including seeing volcanoes, Lake Kivu and the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).