After two years of collaboration, ChildFund Rugby and Bhubesi Pride Foundation (BPF) announced the conclusion of their partnership to empower young people through sport. The partnership supported 97 coach accreditations (53% women), 2,144 player registrations (53% women and girls), a total of 1,566 sport and life skills sessions, with 54% of children and young people showing improvements in their social and emotional learning skills, which are shown to improve a range of future success factors including mental wellbeing and life satisfaction.

“We are proud of the role we played in this partnership, using sport as a tool to empower children and young people in Lilongwe, Malawi,” said Nohara Chinguwo, BPF Malawi Executive Director. “We are looking forward to similar collaborations in the future if support can be secured – investments of generous supporters to date in this partnership have changed the lives of young people through sport.”

BPF delivered modules from Pass It Back, an integrated rugby and life skills curriculum with a focus on enabling players to identify gender inequalities in their daily lives and to take steps to address these in solidarity with others in their communities, as well as building supportive peer networks.

“When I first joined Reconnect and Pass It Back, I wasn’t really keen on life skills learning; I just wanted to play,” said 12-year-old girl Susan. “But, after attending more sessions, I realised its importance and found it enjoyable.  I learned about the significance of goal setting and now aspire to become a teacher. I’ve shared my goal with my family and friends, knowing I can seek help from my teachers and coaches if I face any challenges.”

For other young players like 12-year-old Felix, joining Pass It Back meant finding a safe and inclusive space. Felix, who faced discrimination due to social prejudices against people with albinism, said he was grateful his father encouraged him to join. “I’ve made new friends and even became one of the best players at the end of season competition. I’m proud to be part of Pass It Back; I feel accepted and I believe I can become a great rugby player someday.”

ChildFund Rugby Director Chris Mastaglio attributed the success of Pass It Back in Malawi to all the Coaches. “Change wouldn’t have been possible without the Coaches. Their dedication played a crucial role in empowering the players and inspiring change within the community. Beyond this partnership they will continue to be powerful role models and Ambassadors in their communities.”

More than half of the coaches in Lilongwe are women, trained not only in providing a safe and inclusive space for young players, but also to become leaders beyond the pitch. For 20-year-old Coach Natasha, Pass It Back served as a catalyst to revisit and obtain her Certificate of Education. Moreover, she successfully encouraged and supported at least three of her players to return to school.

“Coaches have quite a huge role; I believe that we must be a good example for young girls. Coaches should be role models and we should demonstrate positive behaviours. It is also our role to work for gender equality, to showcase good leaderships skills, and build teamwork among all the players, so that they can learn from us and create the changes they want in their lives.”


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