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EquitySport looking to close the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ using sports science

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Cricket Uganda through a partnership with equitysport now have access to a sports psychologist who will be working with their national teams.

Whether your country plays in world cups or is made up of semi-pros who balance work with representing their nation in world cricket pathway events, the mental health of athletes can no longer be ignored.

However, for developing nations, the cost of having such professionals has been deemed a luxury given other priorities, usually of a financial nature. Therefore, charity organisations such as equitysport have emerged to help develop the capacity of emerging teams in this area to help level the international playing field.

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We had a brief chat with the CEO of equitysport Tim Harper on what exactly the charity intends to do, how they do it, and what would winning look like for them.

1.  What is the purpose of equitysport and what are its target areas of operation?

equitysport is a UK-based charity that exists to advance equality, diversity, and equal opportunity in and through global sport. We are focussed on two approaches to achieving that vision. 1, through locally-driven and relevant capacity building projects in under-served and disadvantaged sporting communities and 2, through researching the root causes and possible solutions to the most pronounced instances of inequality in world sport and helping governing bodies and international federations develop effective policy to level the playing field. 

2. On your relationship with Cricket Uganda, what do you aim to achieve?

The partnership with Cricket Uganda is a really exciting one and forms an important step in our capacity-building projects on the African continent. We want to break down the knowledge silos in sport, ensuring that best practice is disseminated to the global masses, but in a manner that makes it possible to blend it with local know-how.

With Cricket Uganda, we’re spearheading an ambitious mentorship program to develop the local workforce in the game across the country. Our mentoring programs match those aspiring to work at all levels of sport in under-served communities with highly experienced and accomplished mentors around the world. 

Using our platform, ongoing support through remote and in-person training, the mentor and mentee work together one-to-one for an initial 12 months to share new perspectives, develop their potential, build new skills and equip them with the tools to deliver genuinely transformational sports development initiatives in their locality. 

We also provide bursaries and grants to cover the costs of formal qualifications and training in subjects relating to their professional practice so that they can hopefully secure stable employment in their field. 

With Cricket Uganda, we hope to be able to play our part in pushing the sport forward. Uganda has serious potential in the sport, and with the right workforce in place, the sky really is the limit for the game.

3. How long has equitysport been doing this and how big is your team?

As a charity, we are relatively young, but in various different guises, we’ve been doing this for around four or five years now. The team is still modestly sized, though we have a mentorship team in the 20’s now with all the projects that we are running around the world. 

4. In terms of resources do organisations have to contribute something towards your services?

We don’t charge a fee for our services. However, what we do isn’t free to do, and as our project portfolio expands, so do our costs. Our mentors are volunteers, all of whom work full time in sport; they give up their time to help develop their peers in disadvantaged sporting communities.

We’re very grateful to our supporters and donors who make our work possible, and with all that’s happening in the world at the moment, the funding challenge is only going to be made harder, but we have a great board of trustees and incredible supporters so we look forward with cautious optimism! 

5. What targets do you have as an organisation over time?

As an organisation, we want to create real change in sport. We believe in the values and ideals of sport, that it should work hard to be a beacon of hope for everyone in society.

We will continue to build capacity in under-served sporting communities and advocate for real change from a policy perspective to ensure that opportunities in and through sport remain open to all, regardless of who you are, where you come from and what your background might be.I’m not sure there’s a finishing line for our vision, but if we keep working to make a difference, if we can keep delivering progress and keep pushing the conversation forward, we’ll be happy. 

6. Besides Cricket Uganda which other organisations are you working with?

We’re working with a number of organisations across the African continent at the moment from governing body down to small sports clubs. In Uganda specifically, we’re working with Ascent Soccer to build out their provisions from a sports science and medical perspective – they have been a great partner to us for a number of years now. One of our interns, Felix Ayobo is also now placed with the Uganda Cranes National Football team under the mentorship of Jack Nayler of Celtic FC – we’ve got some great relationships in the country!

Find out more at equitytsport.org

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Denis Musali
Denis Musali
Denis is digital communications manager for Cricket Uganda and also writes for Kawowo Sports. If it isn't cricket he spends his time working on his ridesharing startup. On a Sunday he captains his club side Wanderers Cricket club as a wicket-keeper batsman.

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