Chituka Village Project

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Chituka Village Project

Malawi
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Coach Kalekeni Mtalika Banda's idea is, through the lure of afterschool soccer leagues, to establish an education-based mentoring program for poor and neglected children in northern Malawi, providing them the opportunity to receive at least an 8th-grade education. The goal is to stimulate young boys and girls to visualize, comprehend and marvel at the opportunity for personal growth and a healthy life.

Coach Banda is a native of Chituka, so he understands the village's needs. He also has many relatives in Malawi who can facilitate all aspects of this project.

"Although there are four middle schools in Chituka and education is free, school attendance is not mandatory," Banda says. "For those that do attend, there are too few pens, notebooks and textbooks. These factors, combined with the fact that so many children are orphaned at a young age, are disincentives for going to school. These children will never break the cycle of poverty without an adequate education."

Remembering how the opportunity to participate in afterschool sports was a huge incentive for him to attend school as a Chituka youth, Coach Banda aims to establish soccer leagues at each school. In order to participate -- and to receive the uniforms and necessary equipment, including soccer balls -- the children will be required to attend afterschool mentoring sessions focusing on literacy and math.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Children in Chituka Village face many adversities, including poverty, disease and short life expectancies -- all of which impact school attendance. While schools exist, they lack the basic supplies and resources necessary, such as pens, pencils, notebooks and textbooks. For these reasons, combined with the fact school is not mandated, children of Malawi do not have the opportunity to become engaged scholastically like children of other countries. The Banda Bola Sports Foundation-Chituka Village Project encourages school attendance by providing after school sports programs. Education -- necessary to break the cycle of disease and poverty -- is provided through afterschool mentoring. Participation in afterschool scholastic mentoring is required to particpate in the soccer leagues. The program will create partnership with secondary schools and sports clubs for mentors and instructors. The enhanced education and emphasis on personal health will help address these stark realities: * One in five children born dies before their 5th birthday. * 49% of children are malnourished. * Schools are understaffed and fail to graduate students to secondary schools.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Coach Banda is not trying to solve the village's problems of poverty, disease, and low life expectancies with an infusion of cash or planeloads of well-intentioned donations. Instead, he is trying to provide the children of Chituka with the hope and know-how necessary for them to be self-sufficient so they can address the adversities on their own. "Help them help themselves," as the saying goes. Other unique aspects of the project: * Banda was born and spent the first 15 years of his life in Chituka Village, Malawi, so he is keenly aware of village needs. This insight, along with the fact many of his relatives still reside there and are active in local government and business, ensures resources will be distributed and used prudently. * Mentors and coaches will primarily be village residents, providing them with purpose and the opportunity to give back to the community in which they were raised. * The Chituka Village Project is primarily grassroots. Coach Banda has reached out to former players and coaching acquaintences for donations of used sports equipment and unused school supplies that he will package and ship to Malawi. He has also asked them to consider donating their time in blocks of 2-3 weeks to serve as teachers and mentors. * To date, the Banda Bola Sports Foundation has no corporate sponsors. All of the collecting, packaging, shipping and distribution of equipment and supplies has, to date, been done through a handful of dedicated and passionate volunteers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Coach Banda has returned to Chituka Village twice since 2007, each time personally delivering school supplies, clothing and soccer balls that were donated to his foundation. The supplies were given to the following schools: Malenga Mzoma Primary School, Bandawe Primary School, Macalpine Primary School and Chifira Primary School in Nkhata Bay, Malawi, Africa. He also met with tribal leaders, government officials and his own family to lay the groundwork for the afterschool mentoring and soccer programs. Some volunteers were lined up, but the program has yet to officially begin. Here in the U.S., Banda has inspired many former players to get involved with his organization. His tireless efforts to raise awareness with young people in New York's Capital Region has also garnered support (in the form of fundraisers and used equipment collections) from students from elementary school through college. These efforts captured the attention of the Albany Times Union, the largest daily newspaper in New York's capital of Albany, which ran an above-the-fold article on Coach Banda and his foundation on Thursday, June 5, 2010. (http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=937250)
About You
Organization:
Banda Bola Sports Foundation
Section 1: About You
First Name

Christine

Last Name

Bird

Website
Organization
Country

, CA, Los Angeles County

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Banda Bola Sports Foundation

Organization Phone

518-608-4509

Organization Address

Banda Bola Sports Foundation Inc. P.O. Box 105 Guilderland New York 12084

Organization Country

, NKB

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, NKB

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

Here in the USA, Banda established the Banda Bola Sports Foundation as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization (EIN 26-3821877).In addition, he has:

* Secured donated warehouse space to store donations.
* Marketed his foundation at various civic organizations, schools and sports clubs.
* Raised funds through partnerships and clinics at several soccer-related events (SuperCuts SoccerFest at UMASS, Bethlehem Soccer Club Tournament, Colonie Soccer Club skills training, etc.)
* Collected donations of used sports equipment and clothing from the University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, State University of New York at Albany and others.
* Actively sought media coverage of the Foundation and Project in an effort to attract donors, volunteers and mentors. See Albany Times Union, Thursday, June 5, 2010. (http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=937250)

Results

Up to 2,000 children in grades K-8 in Chituka Village will have the opportunity for both an enhanced education and improved health through soccer. The minimum of an 8th grade education will ensure these children have the knowledge and skills they need to help themselves and their families break the cycles of poverty and disease. Through sports, they will learn the principles of athletics, sportsmanship and teamwork.

The foundation will establish a scholarship for students who successfully complete the Malawi Government, Ministry of Education - Primary School Living Certificate Examination.First priority will be to candidates with passing grades who are selected by the Ministry of Education to attend secondary school. The second priority will be given to students with good academic records, who are also active in performing community service in their community.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

2010
* Ramped-up marketing effort to attract and retain sponsors, donors, mentors and instructors.
* Establishment of a rewards program to recruit and retain mentors and instructors.
* Identification of viable funding sources, both short and long-term. will These sources include private donations, federal and state grants, grants from private foundations and business partnerships.
* Secure foundation and project legitimacy through press coverage and high-profile support.
* With local school officials and community leaders, officially announce the afterschool sports and education mentoring program.

2011
* Secure appropriate funding ($6,000 - $12,000) to ship accumulated donations to Malawi.
* Ensure appropriate safeguards are in place so donations are delivered and distributed to the intended recipients.
* Ensure proper and reliable personnel and infrastructure exist in Chituka Village to carry out the foundation's vision.
* Officially launch the afterschool sports and education mentoring program.
* Formulate a long-term funding plan to ensure sustainability of this effort.
* Possibly add personnel to handle day-to-day activities and coordination.
* Further define board and exeucive roles and job descriptions.
* Formalize financial reporting procedures.

2012
* Ensure the program is in full effect at all targeted schools.
* Continue to recruit talented mentors/coaches.
* Establisha working vacation concept where foreign visitors to Malawi would donate 2-3 weeks of their time serving the Chituka Village Project.
* Seek to expand the program to neighboring communities.
* Ensure consistent financing from varios sources.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

* Lack of financial resources/support from sponsors and donors.
* Lack of a sufficient numbers of teaching and coaching volunteers.
* Lack of support for the project from Malawi/Chituka Village officials.
* Inability to deliver the necessary supplies to Chituka Village.
* Children needing to drop out of school for health or family reasons.
* Lack of support for the effort from the childrens' families.
* Having young girls forced into marriage before they finish school.
* Lack of a strong network of support from educational institutions and sports organizations in Malawi.
* Inability to recruit and train volunteer mentors and instructors.
* Inability to establish an effective system for collection and storage of supplies.
* Inabilty to raise the funds need to ship supplies to Malawi.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

In what country?

, NY, Albany County

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

If yes, provide organization name.
How long has this organization been operating?

Less than a year

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

The Foundation and associated projects simply cannot succeed without key public and private partnerships. Beginning in Africa, it is necessary to have the support of state and local leaders to ensure the necessary supplies reach the intended destinations. Without partnerships with Africa-based education, health and sports-based non-profits, it would be difficult to attract the personnel necessary for success, as well as the necessary supplies. In the U.S., where the foundation is currently based, partnerships with businesses and organizations will add legitimacy to the efforts and the financial resources necessary to launch and sustain foundation projects.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

* Donated supplies and equipment need to be shipped and delivered to Malawi.
* Commitments to serve as mentors and coaches are needed from a sufficient number of individuals to serve up to 2,500 students in 4 Chituka Village school districts.
* Financing is needed for marketing, recruitment, supplies and shipping.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

In the words of Kalekeni Banda:

"When I returned to my village of Chituka in Malawi first for the funeral of my father and then the funeral of my mother, I found the village had not progressed much since I left it 30+ years before. Running water and electricity were still scarce. Deadly diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS were still spreading unchecked. Schools were sparsely attended and the soccer fields I had played on as a youth were barren. It was disheartening.

I also remember hearing the cries of the villagers, "Who will help us now?" My parents had served and mentored their neighbors in various ways, the focus always on self-sufficiency. For example, they offered their land for farming so people could grow their own food. They secured boats and fishing nets so the people could fish in the lake. They emphasized the important of education. "Who will help us now?" they cried -- and I knew the answer was it had to be me.

When I returned in 2007 and 2008 I brought with me soccer equipment and school supplies for the children. These young people were so blessed by what they received, and the smiles on their faces revealed the joy in these gifts. It was like I had given them gold.

I knew then it was incumbent upon me to help my birthplace break the bonds of poverty and disease. I realized this would not be possible without a solid educational foundation. I also remembered how important sports -- particularly soccer -- was to me as a youth and I knew the best way to stress the importance to good health to children was through sports.

I knew I had to make a difference now, while I was capable and in good shape and health myself. While I still have time. (I am soon to turn 59.)

Hope is a precious commodity -- and I intend to bring it to the people of my home village."

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Born in 1951, Kalekeni Banda grew up in the farming village of Chituka. Going to school at Malenga Mzoma Primary School and playing sports in his village, a foundation was laid for his future accomplishments in coaching in the United States.

After graduating from high school, Coach Banda was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMASS), where he played soccer and ran track. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 1975, Coach Banda returned to his native Malawi to assume a position of Sports Officer. For the next three years he served as coach of the Malawi Olympic team before returning to the U.S. in 1979.

In the 1980’s, Coach Banda helped put the University of Massachusetts women’s soccer team on the map. He coached the UMass Minutewomen to six consecutive NCAA appearances, including five trips to the final four. In 1987, his team played in the National Championship, losing 1-0 to the University of North Carolina.

He is a two-time recipient of the NSCAA National Coach of the Year award, and is a three-time NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year. He also was awarded the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League Coach of the Year, as well as the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association Coach of the Year. In addition to the five NCAA Final Four Appearances, his teams had eight NCAA Championship Appearances and a total of ten post-season appearances. His players include 25 All-American selections, as well as one National Team player.

In 1999, he was inducted into the UMass Sports Hall of Fame. He developed his own soccer-training program called Banda “Bola” Soccer (“Dancing with the Ball”: The African Art of Soccer and continues to teach the technique. He created the Chituka Village Project, fulfilling a desire to help and serve the children in his beloved homeland of Malawi, Africa.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Friend or family member

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer