Praia, Cape Verde, April 2, 2015 – Volleyball has always been a popular sport for schools in Cape Verde. Festivals are held every year across the archipelago and the national federation has always looked at ways to develop the sport among young people. However, the country has sometimes struggled to meet the demand for trainers, with the work falling on just a select few.
This problem is one of many reasons the African Dream Project was created. First introduced in 2014 the initiative aims to develop volleyball in school and encourages collaboration with stakeholders, including education, sports and youth ministries.
“Over the years the volleyball development policy in Cape Verde has been based on long term work which was constantly adapting,” explained. “When the Cape Verdean Volleyball Federation received the notice of the approval of the African Dream Project for Cape Verde it started a plan of activities for its implementation.”
One of the biggest barriers in training new coaches was the cost of travel across each of the country’s 10 islands, with a trip costing on average $180 each time. Additionally, as trainers were in short supply, it was up to players from volleyball clubs to teach the sport to young players. As a result, proper knowledge of volleyball technique and rules was often inconsistent due to a lack of training structure.
“Volleyball initiation in schools was usually linked to clubs, and was assumed by "activists" trying to work with no scientifically sound basis,” Mr Rodrigues continued. “So most of the time these projects ended without young athletes reaching their peak.”
After receiving approval, Mr Rodrigues and his colleagues put in place a structure to give volleyball a chance to blossom across a few key islands.
“A team was created for the coordination of the project, made of a technical coordinator and an administrative coordinator.
“Following the first meeting the team decided to create four centres for the project. The centres are in Ribeira Grande on the island of Santo Antao, Praia on the island of Santiago, Espargos on the island of Sal and Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente.”
Monitors were chosen for each of the four centres and they were given the necessary materials such as balls, markers, nets and t-shirts for students.
They were then given the task of organising the logistics and signing up students to the centres.
Naturally there have been issues concerning finding the space and fitting the centre’s activities around different schools.
However, all four are now fully functioning and welcoming up to 50 students each, illustrating the quick success of the African Dream Project.