29 participants from four different African Countries enjoyed the presentations, the participative approach of this online training and the interaction with other coaches. 

A powerful online programme combining life skills, sports and education during these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic was conducted by PlayHandball South Africa and Kenya, with great support from ONE TEAM in Germany and PLAY HANDBALL Förderverein in Germany. 29 participants took part in the online training from four different countries – South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The training was held online on the 17th, 18th, 25th of September and 1st of October 2020.  It was designed for teachers, community workers and coaches to create a platform of learning, support and knowledge exchange for all those who work in remote and disadvantaged areas with children. The aim of the training was to, “equip coaches with the skills to become change makers and responsible, active citizens in their communities by using handball as the tool for development”. 

The course had different age groups with the youngest being 16 years old and the oldest participant 57 years old.  “It was great to see that we had participants from different countries and age groups taking part in this course. Opening up these interventions online attracts more international participants and that goes with our mission of reaching beneficiaries beyond South Africa, beyond Africa”, Simphiwe Mahlanyana (Project Manager PlayHandball ZA).

The course was led by various instructors who shared their experience in different topics in the field of sports. Dr. Frowin Fasold – Lecturer at the Department of cognitive and team/Racket sport research at the University of Cologne in Germany, James Otieno – Chief Executive Officer, Mathare Youth Sport Association in Kenya, Vitor Baricelli – Level 3 ehf rick convention handball coach and handball analyst from Brazil, Martin Berger – former youth coach of Füchse Berlin and currently on a handball world tour, and Nicola Scholl – Founder and Director of PLAY HANDBALL. 

“Despite some challenges with the internet, I was impressed to see that every participant had the desire to attend the four sessions and always followed up for course materials”, Caroline Nange (Coordinator PlayHandball Kenya).   

The workshop sessions were divided in three parts, and delivered on four days where participants acquired different valuable skills that will enable them teach children sport and social skills in this uncertain time posed by Covid-19 pandemic through handball. This skills include;

  1. Fundamentals of coaching – with special focus in handball and athletic training,  
  2. Sport training in times of Covid-19, and  
  3. Sport for Good coaching. 

The participants learned besides other general knowledge on how to plan, structure and facilitate training sessions, knowledge and skills on how to create enjoyment in sport, games for practicing social distancing, information about child safeguarding and health and hygiene measurements in times of Covid-19, how to teach life skills and good values with sport, and how to facilitate group reflection on critical social topics using handball as a tool.  

The coaches were further involved in a participatory learning approach. In several breakout sessions or group discussions, the participants shared their experiences and identified, discussed and presented solutions in regards to these topics. “At first we did not know anything about Handball. But after the sessions everything made sense, because the explanations were crystal clear… We are looking forward to another session.”, said one of the participants from South Africa. The value and importance of having this course was spoken loud in the evaluation. Here are some of the impressions from the participants: “The lectures were on point with great mastery of the topics they were teaching. I like the participatory chance given to all to share their opinions and lastly the other participants were actively involved in the course through the chats”, reflects a Kenyan participant.  Another participant from Zimbabwe stated that, “I liked the presentations and support from the course organizers”, while a participant from Rwanda stated that, they felt: “It was great to learn how to teach children on issues of development.” 

“We are very happy that we could mobilise so many people for our first online courses. The feedback we have received from participants has shown that there is a need for such courses. These were definitely not the last ones.” says Nicola Scholl, founder of PlayHandball, explaining the way forward for more online training in the future.

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