Welcome to Africa! Zambia, officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked state in Southern Africa, which neighbours no less than eight other states (DR Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola). A country with a climate we British can only envy, and boasting a population consisting of some of the warmest and most cheerful people you could ever have the pleasure to meet, Zambia is home to incredible wildlife and the magnificent Victoria Falls.
Independent from former British rule since 24 October 1964, Zambia is one of a plethora of African countries to have been devastated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and by severe poverty. The total of Zambian AIDS orphans exceeds the one million mark, and although the nation was named one of the world’s fastest economically reformed countries in by World Bank in 2010, there remains not nearly enough resources to help the people of this financially stricken country.
With much of the above in mind and as a result of the admirable work done by so many inspirational individuals, The Wallace Group and its partnership with Zambian non-governmental organisation (NGO) Sport in Action (SIA) was formed in 2004, with a commitment to establish and sustain international programmes to which around 100,000 children have since benefitted. The Wallace Group is a set of seven UK universities (Durham, Bath, Cardiff Metropolitan, Loughborough, Northumbria, St Andrews and Stirling), one charity (The Perfect Day Foundation), and SIA.
The Group’s objectives are clear: to improve the lives of young people in Zambia through a partnership with Zambian organisations who seek to help these individuals – as well as those of UK students that travel to Lusaka - develop health, sporting, life skills, and cultural awareness, as well as general life experiences. The Group’s mission: “to make a difference to the lives of young Zambian people by empowering and enriching communities, through the power of sport, leadership and education” (Wallace Group, 2018, emphasis in original).
Every summer, the seven aforementioned universities send a team of students and one staff member to the nation’s capital city, Lusaka, for six weeks, in one of three groups from May-September. The students’ volunteer work varies massively, from coaching sport, training team leaders and teaching health and life skills education, and is guided by SIA.
SIA was founded in 1998, and became the first Zambian NGO with a focus on Sport for Development as its core principle. The organization works year round, using sport as a platform to develop the Zambian people and inspire a nation to be physically, socially, and mentally active, and directs the work of the Wallace Group students when they arrive in Lusaka every summer.
During their stay, the students encourage and inspire local children and young people to participate by attending sessions, and use sport to develop motivation, self-reliance and self-development, whilst often developing close friendship with those they work with, and becoming invested in their futures.
For more information on our partner organizations, please see following websites:
www.wallacegroupuniversities.com - The Wallace Group
www.sportanddev.org/en/organization/sport-action - Sport in Action
www.theperfectdayfoundation.org - The Perfect Day Foundation
By Lewis Wright,
Josephine Butler College Finalist and 2016 Volunteer Zambia Alumnus