In 2015 AVSSP began to work alongside local governors and headteachers to develop a link with the school system in The Gambia, West Africa.
This link has provided the opportunity for members of AVSSP staff to visit the The Gambia to support these schools and teachers in developing PE, School Sport, Early Years and Leadership. AVSSP staff will be paying to attend but it will enable them to explore and experience a new culture and way of life that would be unaccustomed to our usual routines.
April 2017 – three Amber Valley SSP staff commenced on the first Gambia trip, this visit acted as a fact finding mission and enabled AVSSP staff to meet local people, assess the needs of the community and put a plan in place. Not only that, packages of educational equipment and resources were provided to give Gambian children a better chance to succeed in their studies.
February 2018 – four Amber Valley SSP coaches visited The Gambia in order to provide equipment, resources, support and training to our 3 new Gambian coaches. Training sessions centred around building a PE lesson from warm up to cool down, with AVSSP coaches passing on developmental games, drills and practices which could be delivered with the equipment provided in a variety of environments. Training was delivered in local schools, community centre’s and open spaces allowing for young people to get involved, making for a realistic experience for our new coaches.
Yaya will work on the north bank covering the local schools in the Barra & Chamen districts. Sam will cover Bakau & Serekunda while JG will be working in Brikama. Over the February half term members of the SSP visited the country to train the coaches ready to be able to deliver sport and activities to children and sports clubs. The programme will be overseen locally by Alli, a Gambian teacher who has experience working on both sides of the river Gambia.
February 2019 – all three coaches were providing regular updates on their sessions with hundreds of Gambian children benefitting from the equipment, resources and training provided by AVSSP and partners. New equipment was provided at regular intervals throughout the first year thanks to support from Reydon Sports.
January 2020 – the programme was confirmed for a further year providing continued employment to four Gambian coaches as well as opportunities to participate in sport to thousands of Gambian children throughout a given year. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our coaches were supported and were likely the only workers in Gambia to receive a ‘furlough’ status to protect their employment.
November 2020 – government restrictions are lifted and coaches are able to return to work. Pictures and videos were sent in of coaches working with grateful students on a variety of sports and activities.
Many schools in Amber Valley have generously supported our work in The Gambia by organising Gambia themed days to raise money for the project. All money raised has helped fund the equipment and resources used by our team of Gambian coaches.
The Gambia in profile:
Population: 2.1 million
Flag: Blue, Green and Red stripes with white trim
Language: English (plus multiple tribal languages including Wolof & Mandinka)
Did you know: The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa and also the 17th most deprived country in the world
The Gambia still relies on aid from countries and we have been fortunate enough to access charity baggage for our flights. We have already amassed a number of boxes which have been sent to The Bolsover School to be packed in a container and shipped to the country ahead of our arrival. In addition, we have been fortunate to take old lost property from schools along with kit and clothing from organisations that have found them surplus to requirements.
The trip hopefully will be the start of an journey that as we continue to grow and develop our young people we can do the same for those in another part of the world less fortunate to ourselves.
Should you wish to know more about this partnership then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.