Monday, December 8, 2008

More Technique Development Photos

* Tendai is feeling well enough to play ball!

Technique Development 15th November

*In these pictures our youngest girls are instructed on how to shoot

After warming up with Rejoyce the girls were separated into three groups to work on technique, posture and ball handling skills. Sandra enlisted two of the older girls whom she recognized from last weeks game to be strong shooters to teach our youngest members how to shoot. Rejoyce worked on teaching her group blocking/ offence skills, and Sandra concentrated on ball-handling skills.

*In this picture Rejoyce demonstrates “offense” techniques.

-The girls were then put into teams and played a short match, in which they put into practice the lessons they had learnt.

Our session ended on a fun note, this week we treated the girls to a snack of “fat cooks” and juice. It is very rewarding to see the smiles and hear the laughter. Our meeting only broke up because of gathering storm clouds, thunder and lightning!

Mentoring 15th November

It is vital that the girls be provided with role models and mentors to tutor and offer them with advice on sporting/ life skills. Rejoyce is a Red Cross volunteer who plays in a local women’s team and is the star shooter for her Midlands State University team. She has agreed to meet regularly with the girls, providing support and advice. She spoke to the girls on the importance of fitness and taught them proper stretching and warm up exercises. Her routine was grueling and the girls were SCREAMING with pain!

Introduction of Sandra Masiwa as Coach 15th November

After our talk on Team Building and Leadership, I introduced Sandra Masiwa to the girls in her capacity as coach. Sandra has been coaching netball for most of her adult life. She confesses to being passionate about the sport and its development, She has coached a wide variety of teams and age groups. She is also a recognized referee. Sandra will meet with the teams, provide technical advice to develop the players. She has joined EGT on a full time basis.

As a resident of Dombotombo, she is already familiar with many of the girls, because she referees school matches she also knows the girls from their school teams.

*In this picture Sandra (in the floral blue dress) advises on the correct posture when preparing to shoot. The Community Mothers look on in the background.

Team Building 15th November

Our Saturday Session concentrated on Team Building. Our intention is to develop 7 teams that will train and compete in a Round Robin. We intend to also identify our strongest players and form 2 teams that will compete against other clubs. As Administration, we have decided to allow the girls to make as many decisions concerning how the programme will run by themselves, to only offer advice and guidance where necessary. We thus asked the girls how they wanted the teams to be formulated giving them the following options:

-Teams based on age.
-Teams based on location.

The girls discussed it among themselves and came back with the option of forming teams based on wards (location), the reason being that it would be easier to meet, coordinate and arrange group training/ fitness sessions.

We spoke broadly about teamwork, and why it is an important social skill to be able to work well within a team. Our discussion progressed to include notes on leadership- we discussed what qualities we would look for in a leader, what functions the team leader would be responsible for and the process of selecting team leaders {Captains.}

I feel it important to note that while our programme focuses on providing disadvantaged children with the opportunity to play in a safe environment. We are also responsible for developing life skills and teaching the girls social awareness, we felt, bearing this in mind, that our team captains would not necessarily be selected from the best players, but that the girls should elect and vote for their team captains . It was decided that the girls would put forward names and that votes would be cast in next weeks Saturday Session.

Trust Building Activities Continued 8th November

“All Aboard”:

In this activity the girls were grouped into teams, we used chalk to demarcate an area in which the entire team is to fit. Gradually the space becomes smaller and the teams’ aim is to work together to ensure that every member is inside the boundary.

This exercise was beneficial in that it required the girls to work in close physical proximity as a team to solve a practical problem. As netball is a contact sport we felt it important that the girls learn to feel comfortable with touching and being close together.

Step1: Each girl stands comfortably, the only physical contact visible is between the girls who know each other well.

Step Two: As the space is reduced the girls come into closer contact, they all keep their arms close to their bodies.

Step three; The space becomes even smaller, the girls open out their arms

Step 4: Opting to carry each other

Step 5: Although the girls managed to fit in the area, they did not quite achieve physical closeness. If they had faced inwards with interlinked arms they would have saved more space.

First Lunch 8th November 2008

After the Trust Building Activities, the matches and the war cries it occurred to us that our girls would be hungry! The economic situation in Zimbabwe at present has seen many families resorting to providing only 1 meal a day, usually consisting of Sadza (a stiff maize porridge) and kale (a leafy green vegetable).

Needless to say the nutritional benefit of such a meal is grossly lacking. We have made a decision to supplement the girl’s diet by providing a protein rich meal whenever possible. We catered for our girls, the visiting team and several other community children whom we did not have the heart to turn away.

On the menu:
-Beef Stew
-Roast Potatoes
-Bean Stew

First Match 8th November 2008

We played our first friendly match against a team from Dombotombo which is sponsored by MS, an organisation which incidentally, is also developing sport in disadvantaged communities). We chose our strongest players and formulated two teams (ages 9-12 and 13+}

Although we have the potential to form a strong side it was evident that our girls needed to build up their fitness levels and improve on their technique.

Unfortunately we lost both games, the older team losing 1-4 and the younger girls 1-9. It was an exciting day however and the girls had a wonderful time.

We are represented by the lime green bibs. (Patience and I decided that we would only unveil our uniform when we have firmly established an element of commitment from the girls and are performing as a team.)

Nyemudzai Garwe Administrator

EGT is administered by Nyemudzai Garwe, the third daughter of the late Edmund Garwe. Nyemudzai is a qualified Fashion Designer and Merchandising Manager. She is a mother of two sons and is based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Nyemudzai is responsible for the day to day running of the Trust, planning and implementation of project goals. She is passionate about developing her home community and empowering the girl child.

Nyemudzai has always believed that being a woman provides one with a great deal of strength and has always fought for a woman's right to have choices. She is a strong believer in the power of education and the power to have freedoms: the freedom to chose and the freedom of independence. Nyemudzai believes that in order to make informed choices one has to have access to information and education. Her passion is to allow a girl child the freedom to make informed choices and to provide the girl child with alternatives. As a designer she does not see life as one dimensional but as a kaleidoscope of interwoven realities. She believes that the right to explore, to express and to be a child is a fundamental right. She believes that children should have all their rights and they should have a chance to exercise those rights. The child-head of household loses their childhood early and Nyemudzai would like them to have the access and ability to exercise their rights.

War Cries 8th November 2008

A netball team is made up of 7 players, we had an additional 3 girls acting as reserve players, a total of 10 girls per team. The remaining 30 girls supported our side by screaming war cries and doing tribal dances. I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that the girls had organised a drum for the occasion and developed our own personal war cry:

Lead: Edmund Garwe Trust
Refrain: “MORE FIRE!”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Linda Fortunate Muvuti (16 years old)

Linda is tall, elegant and well spoken. She too has watched both her parents and her grandmother pass on. She is a passionate sports woman, and is writing her O’Levels. When asked if she shouldn’t be studying, She responded that it’s important to take a break!

In her own words Linda wrote:
"My name is Linda Fortunate Muvuti. I was born on the 13th of July in 1992. I am the only child in my family. I learn at Nagle House Girls High School right here in Marondera. My father died a long time ago. And my mother died last year leaving me with my grandmother, and a few months later she died. I am now living with my Aunt."

Sibongile and Bongani Moyo (14 years old)

Sibongile (left) and Bongani (right) both wrote:
"My name is (Sibongile/Bongani) Moyo. I am a girl aged 14. I learn at Chitepo Secondary School. I was born in 5 July 1994. My father died in 1994 when I was still young."
I had not realised that we had twins in our programme, so I was prepared to put these two to task as I was under the impression that they had copied each other’s life stories (!)

They assured me that they don’t make a habit of trading places because as far as they are concerned they are not identical and have very different interests and hobbies.

Tanyaradzwa Kubera (12 years old)

In her own words Tanyaradzwa wrote the following:
"My name is Tanyaradzwa Kubera. I am twelve years old. My mother died when I was seven months. I was born in 1996. I lived with my grandfather in Harare. I learnt in Mabvuku Primary School. I moved from Harare to Rusape. Then from Rusape to Marondera. I am currently living with my Aunt in Rusike Park. I learn at Inyangui Primary School and am in Grade six. And my father died in 2006 and he left five children including me."

After speaking to Tanyaradzwa (Tanya) I realised that she is more familiar with bereavement, than any child her age should be. Although she was too young to remember her mother, she watched both her grandmother and her father die. She has been shuffled from one reluctant relative to another and it is evident that she considers herself to be a burden. She is very shy and introverted.

Anna Rori (14 years Old)

Anna’s favorite subjects are Maths, Shona and Science. Her ambition is to be a doctor. Her favorite activities are netball and volleyball. She lives with her elderly grandparents , whom she says are “too old to do big jobs, both of them don’t go to work- they dig in the small fields.”
Her school fees are paid by the Red Cross.

Update on Tendai Gambiza

It's always nice to have positive feed-back, and such is the case with Tendai. She has since seen a doctor (something so many of us take for granted) and been prescribed a course of antibiotics and painkillers. She has also had chest X-rays, blood tests to determine her CD-4 count and most importantly HIV counselling. We are waiting for the results of her tests to be able to determine whether or not she is eligible for anti-retroviral treatment.Watch this space- we're making miracles happen!Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wadzanai Katsande Fellowship recipient

Personal background & Motivation
Wadzanai is a 42 years old wife and mother of two, an activist and a firm believer in the power of economic empowerment. Her passion is taking action to ensure that developing countries, Africa in particular, find appropriate and innovative solutions to combat poverty, debt, poor governance and disease. She has a Master of Science Degree in Community Economic Development and formed a NGO in her Father’s memory in 2006 known as the Edmund Garwe Trust (EGT). EGT’s goal is to assist child headed-households to embark on economically viable projects in order to combat the disenfranchisement and disinvestment caused by the scourge of HIV/AIDS while living a rights based life of dignity and self respect. She has recently completed her Masters thesis which was an exploratory study to find out if child-headed households are susceptible to violence and abuse. The research found that child-headed households are subject to abuse and violence and one of the major things they lack is time to think and play and she believes they can do this through sport.

Wadzanai has been a development practitioner for over 19 years living and working with refugees, internally displaced persons and the rural and urban poor. She have amassed a wealth of experience in the management of multi-sectoral projects: team leadership, financial analysis, rights-based approaches to development, women and gender and a multitude of other development-speak initiatives but she has not found the panacea for an orphaned child’s marginalization and lack of coping skills after suffering the pain of parental death and then facing an increasingly hostile world particularly in Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflationary environment. She would like to assist child-headed households in a meaningful and effective way one child at a time.

Situation in country
The political and economic situation in Zimbabwe is incredibly challenging with 80% unemployed and hyper inflation. The UN News Service (2008) indicates that the number of reported cases of children raped in Zimbabwe has surged by more than 40% in the last three years, since 2003. The spread of HIV/AIDS has led to a lot of child-headed households in various parts of the world, especially Southern Africa which is one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic. The growing number of children left without parents because of HIV/AIDS means that often families cannot cope with more children since they do not have enough money, especially if an adult in that household also died from HIV/AIDS so there is less income all around. Thus the cohesive social fabric of the community/village that used to raise the African child is rapidly disappearing and the children are being left to their own devices with horrendous results.

Fellowship project description & Impact
Wadzanai would like to assist in the formation of girls sporting clubs as safe areas where girl-child heads of households in particular can participate in sport and use the sporting clubs as means of training girls in sport as well as in life-skills development. She would also like to develop areas in which girls and women can gain coaching skills in women’s sports so that they can earn incomes as coaches. The reason for the bias towards the girl child is that boys tend to have time for sport: there are several boy’s football, rugby and other teams but once girls are out of school or the formal educational system there are no girls sporting activities. Girls must look after the family, this is a cultural stereotype. Wadzanai believes strongly in full participation and program direction by the girls themselves. They are helping each other, have several meetings a week at the different girls’ houses. From this space, they form support networks and the basis for imparting social skills and life skills training.

She would like to pilot the program over the period of a year starting with the children who she interviewed and gained relationships with during the time she was doing the study in Marondera, Zimbabwe (a study to determine the prevalence of violence and abuse against child headed households).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saturday 8th November 2008- Trust Building- Activities

"You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation"

Our Saturday group session was broken into two parts, in the first part we concentrated on Trust Building. This was our first activity:

-The "Trust Lean"

The girls were paired up according to height and weight. One assumed the position of "catcher" and the other that of "faller". The faller crosses her arms across her chest with her palms resting on her shoulders, and with eyes closed falls back, trusting that her partner will catch her. After 10 mins, the roles are reversed.

Although it sounds easy, the reality is quite different as it goes against basic instinct to "allow" yourself to fall. After twenty minutes I still did not have a pair who performed this exercise without "cheating'- you're not supposed to bend your knees.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Edmund Garwe- The Man Behind The Trust

Our Saturday Group Discussion focused on Edmund Garwe, who he was, what he believed in and what lessons we can learn from him. I felt it important that my presentation be as interactive as possible, I wanted my words on Mr Garwe to impact positively on the lives of these girls. My talk was based on photographs from my album and stories that my sisters and I heard told over and over as growing girls. These are the topics we discussed:

1. Edmund Garwe's Origins:

I related my father's background and told the story of the disadvantaged boy from Chivhu who realised early on that his only way out of poverty was by virtue of his brain. I told the girls about how the little boy walked barefoot to and from school and studied while herding cattle but grew up to stand beside presidents. My aim was to compare Edmund's early life story (one of poverty and discrimination) to their own and show them that at the end of the day, it is their own personal conviction that will make a difference in altering their situation.

2. Why the Girl Child?:

Mr & Mrs Garwe had four children and all of them are female. In Zimbabwe, this is more often than not considered as good as not having children at all. That a man of his prominence, did not have a male heir (and did not take a second wife as a result) is an indication of the calibre of man we are talking about. I told the girls that Edmund Garwe believed in the girl child and went out of his way to raise self-sufficient, confident, independant-minded women. I told them that we were raised to think, act, speak and defend ourselves as good or better than any boy. We were never made to feel inferior, or believe that we were incapable of any task. The result is four assertive women, confident of their ability to excel in their chosen fields. I emphasised their rights as girls to an education, equal treatment and opportunity. To make them laugh, I told them that if anybody uses sex as an excuse to stand between them and their dreams they should call me, I'll get my sisters and we'll show that person exactly what an empowered woman is capable of (they laughed!)

Edmund Garwe's Principles/ Beliefs:

In this segment I wanted to impart the lessons my father passed down to us, I used his favorite sayings:

"Diplomacy, Dignity and Decorum" As the children of an Ambassador and diplomat we learnt early on how to behave and carry ourselves in an acceptable manner. I defined the words to the girls and elaborated on their meaning. I impressed upon them the need to be presentable at all times, regardless of their situation. I told them that poverty was no excuse for uncleaniness, bad behaviour or an absence of manners. I detailed behavioural traits that would be expected of them for the duration of the programme- punctuality, politeness, presentability. We discussed the disciplinary measures they could expect should these be ignored.

Quid pro quo" Edund Garwe believed in compromise and I explained to them how compromise works and how we would utilise compromise and democracy in our programme (eg voting.)

I told them of my father's religious beliefs for Mr Garwe was a religious man, I made it clear that although we maybe from differing religions, our code of conduct would be based on the Ten Commandments. Stealing, jealousy, lying... would all be considered unaceptable.

I closed my talk by detailing our vision and mission statement to the girls, and assuring them of our committment to making this programme work. We then had a question and answer session and broke to play ball!
*our next discussion is on: Trust/ Trust Building Execrcises

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tendai Gambiza (12 years old)

This is Tendai Gambiza, aged 12, living in Rusike Park, Marondera with her Aunt. Both Tendai's parents fell sick and died of HIV/AIDs, she is living with the disease. She was once a candidate for government sponsored treatment but this has since stopped due to the disintegration of Zimbabwe's Health and Social Services systems.Patience and I both noticed that she wasn't fit to participate in Saturday's game and I took time out to talk with her. Her approach to life and her illness is resiliant, she is exceptionally bright. Her story is particularly heart wrenching. She says that although she's often too sick to attend class, she makes sure she sits all exams and is always in the top five. She says school comes easy for her. When I asked her to make 3 wishes she wished for the following-1. That the pain in her chest go away.2. That she live long enough to finish school.3. That she can make enough money to support her family so they don't have to sleep hungry.Mrs Garwe ("Gogo" to all the girls now) organised for her to see a doctor yesterday (Tuesday 4 October) and it is suspected that she has Tuberculosis. Unfortunately they couldn't do the tests in Marondera as the labs are closed and we'll have to arrange for her to travel to Harare. After speaking to the Community Mothers (volunteers who oversee the child-headed households) this is the most common problem they face. Most of the children in our programme are victims of the HIV/AIDS scourge and many of them afflicted with the disease. I promise to keep you up-dated on Tendai's progress, all I ask for right now is that you remember her and the millions like her in her in your thoughts and prayers.

Tendai Gambiza (12)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Right to Play

The Trust received a fellowship grant from Women Win whose strategic objectives are
1. To support innovative, high quality and sustainable sports programmes to empower girls and women
a. To identify and support implementation of sports activities
b. To identify and support fellows
c. To strengthen organizational capacity
d. To demonstrate impact of sport as an empowerment strategy

2. To advocate for and create a social movement around sport for gender equality
a. Through partners influence institutions to create safe spaces and infrastructures for high
quality sports programmes for girls and women
b. Mobilise resources
c. Create a platform for partners and stakeholders to promote sport as a strategy.

The fellowship grant was awarded to Wadzanai Katsande the Director of the Edmund Garwe Trust to enable her to bring social change and/or to contribute to the increased awareness around sport as a strategy for the empowerment of girls and women.

The Trust's mission is to bring hope and reintroduce fun into the life of the girl child head of household, orphan and/or vulnerable child.

The Trust's vision is to ensure that children's rights are respected and upheld such that children, particularly orphans and vulnerable children, gain access to their basic necessities and entitlements.

Activities for the fellowship begun in October with the identification of the girls who then chose the sport which they would like to play. The girls chose netball as the sport of choice. The girls will both play sport and get involved in a support group/girl talk group that enables them to share and interact with children in similar situations.

It is important to note that the majority of orphans are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS and some of them are compromised. The Trust would like to provide them with counselling and encourage them to go for voluntary testing. The Trust would also like to teach the children life skills which include proper nutrition and etiquette. We welcome advice and would appreciate help and support particularly in finding low cost solutions to improving the girls' health.