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The team at BPF reflect on their work in Malawi…

11 May 2023

Creating Change through Sport and Education – Bhubesi Pride Foundation

Bhubesi school children

Over the course of 2022, Bhubesi Pride Foundation (or ‘BPF’) embarked on a fascinating process of early transition as, following ten years of evolution, the sports and education charity aligned its vision and goals with a strategic plan to strengthen its foundations and operations in Malawi.

Back in 2017, BPF had been running volunteer-led sports programs – mainly youth rugby but netball was introduced later – welcoming dedicated volunteers from all over the world to engage passionate teachers and community workers in eight African countries to lead outreach sports coaching activities, tournament days and coach education workshops. Progress was good and relationships strong but the charity’s work was building special momentum in rural Lilongwe. By early 2018, BPF had registered a Malawian NGO, a small sports program involving 700 children was being delivered by a locally employed coordinator and work had begun on constructing a sports and education facility on a plot of land the NGO purchased in the May.

Fast-forward to January 2022… After a tough time for many in the charity sector – with no exception for BPF – the time had come to start bringing the now near-complete community centre to life. BPF began working with ChildFund to jointly invest in the delivery of a 6-month sport for development pilot program, focusing on youth rugby, netball and life skills. An intensive coach training program began in the January, recruiting 32 youth coaches. To meet the needs of a developing program, BPF Malawi required organisational strengthening and, within 6 months, an executive team was appointed, along with operations staff and a maintenance team to manage site activities. The NGO started the year with two Malawian employees and, following a successfully and independently evaluated pilot, ended the year with 55 staff coordinating a second sport for development youth program (involving 990 children), a SRHR education program in partnership with another Lilongwe-based NGO, and contributing to the development of the NGO’s netball and rugby club setup.

“My life was filled with ups and downs, I used to run away from challenges as I did not know how to solve them. Through BPF’s program I have learnt a lot about teamwork.” Natasha, BPF Malawi coach

BPF Malawi worked with one of its partners in July to take the Lilongwe community centre site fully off-grid, installing 20 solar panels for electricity and a second tank-stand to enable the team to irrigate the sports field throughout the year, even in the dry season. The centre still requires some fine-tuning (in response to which a fundraising campaign is ongoing) but it’s certainly coming to life for those increasingly making the most of it locally.

Along the way, BPF – the UK charity – has had the opportunity to positively engage SWIDN’s experienced staff and knowledgeable members. BPF’s CEO, Richard Bennett, has taken part in insightful financial capacity building sessions, safeguarding workshops and networking discussions.

“I find it so valuable – and so important – to meet others who face similar challenges and who collaborate with inspirational people, as I do in Malawi, to strive for better outcomes for and with those who, given the opportunity, can thrive in their own community and maximise their potential personally. I’m excited about the progress we plan to make in 2023 and I welcome the chance to be further inspired by friends and associates in the SWIDN family.” Richard Bennett, BPF Founder & CEO

For more information on Bhubesi Pride Foundation, its work in Lilongwe and to watch the latest project video, visit: https://bpfafrica.org/pride-stories/bpf-malawi-sets-out-3-year-strategy/

Volunteer with BPF in Malawi as a visiting group: https://bpfafrica.org/get-involved/volunteer/

Support the charity’s latest fundraiser: https://bhubesipride.enthuse.com/cf/bpf-malawi-s-netball-club-development

Blog and photo kindly provided by Bhubesi Pride Foundation

Originally posted on January 3rd 2023

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