In 2013 British Cycling and Liverpool John Moore’s University announced their collaboration with UK Sport to deliver the IDEALS programme. Seven students from the university who have since qualified as British Cycling Level 1 Coaches are now in Namibia to deliver cycle coaching, supported by Joe Malik, a former student and British Cycling Go-Ride Coach.
Earlier in the year we provided background to the programme’s work in Namibia, following an initial trip by coach educator, Richard Shepherd. We are excited to now be able to join with the university in delivering practical and wide reaching coaching opportunities in and around Windhoek, the country’s capital city.
This project is part of UK Sport’s International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport (IDEALS) programme. Such partnerships between National Governing Bodies ( NGBs) and higher education institutions are important because they develop skills and allow knowledge exchange for all involved.
The role of the students is to augment and enhance the sports development work being done by local people. It also gives the students the opportunity to see different ways of doing things and to challenge the way they think about sports development. The IDEALS programme fits in with a number of sports degree programmes at LJMU in which six short-term student overseas placements are offered. Previously, students have worked with PAY Special Olympics Namibia, the Frankie Fredericks Foundation and the Namibian Football Association.
There are clear similarities in the benefits of cycling in both the UK and Namibia, relating to health, transport and sporting agendas. Riding a bike is perceived in a good way, giving people the chance to socialise and be members of a community. For young people, it’s a chance to see the success of their peers and aspire to be like them.
In Namibia there are particular challenges such as a very high incidence of HIV aids and economic development which impact on people’s life chances. Cultural sensibilities mean that it has not been expected or desirable for the younger generation to take responsibility in their community. However, many of the older generation have died due to HIV and the traditional roles of elders need to be filled by the younger generation. The IDEALS project is very empowering in this regard as it allows participants to contribute to their community, regardless of their age or gender.
Whilst the IDEALS programme is driven by the people on the ground, Coaching and Education is contributing by providing expertise and training, both in Namibia and for LJMU students. Danny Cullinane, Senior Lecturer of Sport Development and Sport Coaching at LJMU said:
“Linking with an NGB recognised as being incredibly successful at every level of the sport is great. Having LJMU ex-student and Go-Ride coach Joe Malik supporting the next generation of students is really positive too. It’s very powerful for our students to be guided, advised and inspired by a former student. Such input can only amplify the experience of students and impact on the programme in Windyhoek”.
We will be sharing updates from the field and insight from the group of coaches, so check back to the site for news.