Episode 4

Published on:

22nd Aug 2023

Richard and Nohara (Rugby in Malawi)

Chimzy and Hazel have a conversation with Richard Bennett and Nohara Chinguwo from the Bhubesi Pride foundation. They discuss the ways that the organisation is changing and has become a Malawian NGO. This series looks at partnerships between Scotland and Malawi and we think this is an interesting example to learn from. They promote sports for development and gender equality.

Bhubesi Pride page:


The featured song is Gold by Twnda from the album African Love Story:



Richard and Nohara

Chimzy: [:

Chimzy: , I am Chimzy

Hazel: and I'm Hazel,

Chimzy: and you are listening to The People To People Podcast,

Hazel: in which we explore the unique partnership between Scotland, where I'm from, and Malawi, where I'm from. And we read out your feedback and comments, which we very much encourage.

Chimzy: In the last two episodes, we had a conversation about decolonization, and in this episode, we want to talk to I Malawi, N G O, the Bpe Pride Foundation.

Chimzy: We have Richard Bennett, the founder, and CEO and Nohara Chinguwo, who is the executive director. And it's worth saying Richard and Nohara were in their car when they were doing this video call with us in the Lilongwe, just right outside the City Mall.

Hazel: What did you particularly enjoy about this chat?

Hazel: Chimzy, do you remember?

lay in Malawi, but you know, [:

Chimzy: But rugby seemed like a very cool and alien concept to bring to Malawi, so I really enjoyed that aspect of the conversation.

Nohara: Well, Bhubesi, Pride Foundation is local NGO here in Malawi that seeks to equip, uh, young people with knowledge, skills, and experiences so that they should be able to rise above their challenges. Basically, what we are doing in simple terms is youth development. We're using a very unique model, what we're calling sports for development, whereby we use sports.

Nohara: In this case, we're using rugby and netball to empower or to develop young people here in Malawi, one of the highlights for awake is that we have a community center. That sounds

Chimzy: great, but what? Why? Rugby? Rugby and Malawi? I would just never put them together. Like I understand the netball part, but rugby?

Nohara: I think that just that question there that why rugby?

not rugby? That's the point. [:

Chimzy: On the podcast, we look at partnerships between Scotland and Malawi. Um, what was it like from the planning stages to build up partnership with like the local communities in Malawi and bringing them the idea of rugby?

all and engage young people, [:

Richard: You know, for me, having grown up in South Africa, moving to the uk, always having loved sports, I got into teaching and I could really see, you know, the power of sport when. I had this crazy idea to drive through Africa and share a, a, a love of rugby with other people. Interestingly, here in Malawi and certainly the rural communities that we work with, just about 25 kilometers northwest of the capital, there'd never been rugby before.

Richard: You know, and certainly access to sport is really difficult. Access to key resources, funding facilities, equipment coaching. So in those early stages, it wasn't just a case of introducing rugby and getting boys and girls involved in fun games. And by the way, we've typically always used non-contact rugby, so touch or tag.

went through that process of [:

Nohara: Yeah. Thank you very much, Richard. In terms of partnerships, how we're working with others here in the country. Just this past few months, we've been able to engage the government as well. Our sports for development programs are really great, but then how can they be integrated within the system so that they're able to achieve a whole lot more and not just at a small level where we are at in the communities.

Nohara: So at the moment, we have been able to develop pre-program. The first one is what we're calling the clubs for development, whereby every year we're targeting not less than 200 young people, aged 10 to 25. And these will be engaged as netball and rugby players. They'll not just be receiving sports skills, but they'll also be receiving life skills, social emotional learning skills.

rights, inclusivity. One of [:

Nohara: So we're currently looking forward to working with the malaria rugby union as well as, uh, special Olympics in the country. And on another side, we also have, um, what we're calling the art and Learning project, which means youth discuss. Mm-hmm. So this is a project whereby we want to establish or adopt youth clubs in schools as well as in communities.

Nohara: So that young people should come together, discuss, um, comprehensive sexuality education, discuss some of their sexual productive health rights with the pandemic, the Covid 19 pandemic. One of the challenges was that the health sector was heavily embedded into c Ovid 19. So HIV um, sexually transmitted infections were completely forgotten, even teenage pregnancies.

age more partners so that we [:

Nohara: Because

Richard: just to build on Nora's last point there, what we're finding is really important as we move forward is, you know that whole piece on partnerships and you talk about equity and ensuring that there is shared understanding of what we're trying to achieve. We're an ambitious organization, but we want to stay within our lane.

Richard: In terms of ensuring that we continually work towards achieving our impact goal for us that working with partners who can help us achieve that is really important, but we're really focused on the goals that are driven by the needs of the community.

Hazel: Can I ask about the power structure in your organization then?

na be a shift in Western led [:

Hazel: Benefiting people in Malawi. Like we want it to be Malawi and led organization benefiting people in Malawi with a supportive partner. Yeah.

Richard: So Hazel, honestly, it's such a good question and I'm really, really keen 'cause, um, Nohara and I have been speaking about this a lot recently. It's a live theme for us.

, uh, in the latter stages of:

Richard: We are really conscious of the risks we're exposed to, whether it's working with partners in the UK or international partners who have that certain expectations or perhaps have preconceptions maybe [00:09:00] about how. Funding needs to be utilized, um, using that term on the ground. What's important as we move forward is that this organization, B P F Malawi is led by NHA, sits next to me and supported by a board, which is ultimately a Malawi led organization.

Richard: This is a challenging concept. What, what does good look like for you? Building on my comments and, and Hazel's question as we look ahead to the future.

Nohara: I think at the moment, structurally we really, there isn't that power in balance. We do have an executive team that is wholey Malawian and the board, that is also Malawian.

Nohara: So it's basically Malawian lead team. The biggest challenge that we have right now is that we're heavily dependent on outside partners. We do not have an ability to resource ourselves. So that is the biggest challenge because one of the questions we've been asking ourselves as an organization is this, is if we are unable to source our own funding, our own income streams.

Nohara: What if our [:

Chimzy: Have you had any time where a partner has come to you, you know, let's say financially with a lot of money, but it's just not been in alignment with your goals at all?

Richard: Um, I don't think we've had a situation where it's been as extreme as that. But what we have found is that there have been situations, you know, we had some funding for a specific program modality, but we had to very much in partnership and in collaboration with, I have to say, very supportive UK-based donor to adapt that program.

a way to be technologically [:

Nohara: At the moment, the last statistics had us at almost 14% access to internet. So now the question is, you bring in these tablets, you bring in these technological survey resources, how are these young people going to use it? The partner also saw that the most important thing is the end goal, making sure that young people have access to this information.

Nohara: So what works for our Malawian context? So what works is either getting the young people involved in these sports activities or bringing them together in these youth clubs whereby they can discuss these issues. So I think that can really be an example whereby we faced that challenge, but I think we're able to collaboratively, um, overcome it and still implement a perfect program that is contextualized.

on is sport and gender. So I [:

Chimzy: Or if you have any statistics on how many girls or boys attend, um, B P F and if there's fewer girls, how do you make sure you promote that in the local communities?

Nohara: We ensure that it's 50% gendered. So that is 50% male, 50% female. In the next few weeks we'll be having an activity for project whereby we are targeting 60 young girls.

Nohara: So we also have a platform whereby we just want to bring the young girls together so that they can discuss these issues that are affecting them.

Richard: And in addition to that, I think what's important to note is, uh, in terms of developing community leaders, coaches within our programs as well. The split also is 50 50.

me that needs to run through [:

Nohara: One of the issues that we have seen statistically and um, From our experiences is that young girls face abuse, whether they're taking part in these programs or whether they're outside the programs within their communities.

Nohara: So that's one of the issues that we are really trying to address because when there's a potential for abuse or harassment, we're looking at how best can we create a situation whereby we have safe environments and these young people freely come in to take part in these programs. When we were just studying a few of these programs, we could see that.

Nohara: The young people did not have access to menstrual hygiene. And now in our programs we ensure that whenever we have these sports programs, we have sanitary parts that these young people can access. These are just some of the challenges that we are also trying to address as we deliver our programs.

Chimzy: One final question, Hazel.

involved as a solo person on [:

Richard: We have some web updates to be done. Typically, what we've done before is we've had these expeditions, which have obviously given people the opportunity to travel through Africa and work with different communities in different African countries as we look ahead to the future and considering the options post covid.

Richard: Yeah, we're, we're going through the process at the moment of reviewing our volunteer framework, our group visit framework and how that can work and, and we'll look at that whole side of things for, for individuals. But more broadly, our hope and aspiration following three visits that we're hosting this month and next with two school visits and, and this other adult coaching group that I mentioned, we're reviewing that whole concept of a volunteer framework, what the itineraries need to look like.

earning and sharing from one [:

Richard: Um, school groups, university groups. Sports clubs, of course. Business groups.

Nohara: Yeah. Right now, as, as Richard said, people can support through volunteering. We are very, very much open to that. People who have skills, sports skills, people who have been able to develop sports clubs, people who have experienced in sports for development.

Nohara: They can volunteer and support our work, but also not only, we're also looking at gaining more funders. One of our challenges is just that being able to mobilize resources. So if there are any supporters out there who can be able to support us in that way, that's. That's what we're also looking at as well as transport.

in rural roadside I believe [:

Nohara: Yeah,

Richard: yeah, yeah. And funding towards supporting development of our programs and also, Um, improving different aspects of our site, whether it's resurfacing our netball court, you know, we've got amazing solar system on the site, but we could do a couple more batteries just to optimize the system.

Richard: The tanks develop holes and split lines, the water tanks. That is, it's a constant process to maintain what is becoming just this fantastic playing surface. Um, but we have termites and we,

Chimzy: I might come and visit you guys next time I move.

Nohara: you should.

Chimzy: Yeah. I have no skills with rugby or netball, but I'm happy to participate.

Nohara: Looking forward to that. You're most welcome.

Chimzy: Where, where [:

Nohara: I think, um, in five to 10 years, BP F will become, um, a leader in sports for development in the country. Because one of the things we want to become is to become a know it all when it comes to sports for development in the country. We want sports for development, contextualized for the Malawian context and for the Malawian people, for the Malawian Society.

Nohara: So our idea is just that how far can we go with sports for development? So the more people that are impacted with sports for development, that's where we want to take B P F to. Yeah. One of the things, disclaimer,

Nohara: Our teams are very, really, really good at sports. We have been able to produce some few athletes for the national teams, but, um, it's not our goal at the end of the day.

Hazel: It's been really good to speak to you both. Thank you so much for your time. What does the rest of the day have in store for you?

Nohara: Uh, meetings and more meetings.

Hazel: No sport. What?

Nohara: No sport [:

Nohara: There is sport today but for the rest of us in the office, we just, it's rare that we go outside and have some time to play.

Nohara: Yeah. I thought you guys would just be off for a game. No,

Richard: on I was saying to Nohara that he needs to spend more time on the pitch

Hazel: I was listening to them and I was hearing whether it's because that's what I wanted to hear or not, that they were really opening their minds to change in how it works and making. Visits, perhaps more meaningful and thinking of them in a different way. And I like to hear that. That's what I liked hearing about.

w their business strategy is [:

Hazel: We didn't go into huge, big depth about it. Partly, I think I shied away from that and I, I regret that because I'm just shy away from slightly uncomfortable conversations and people are so enthusiastic and they're telling me all the good it's doing and who am I to criticize.

Hazel: Right. But. I think it is worth the thought. It's like, are you by expending, you know, tons and tons of carbon and a lot of money on air travel causing more harm or more good by what you bring? I think that that's like a really valid question at the moment, understanding what we know about the climate and the devastating impacts of that.

ying for the sheer fun of it [:

Chimzy: It, it sounds a little bit like you are changing your mind or are you saying these two can exist alongside each other?

Chimzy: Like people are able to fly despite the, um, negative impacts it has on the environment and the climate, but the positive impact it has on the local community. I'm

ationship being positive. So [:

Chimzy: No. Okay. So if it were up to you, how would you then change their strategy?

Chimzy: That still meant they had a positive impact on the local community. But if you were to take away the flying aspect, what would that look like?

Hazel: I don't know, honestly, but maybe one of our listeners does and they could get in touch.

Chimzy: Yeah, because. If it's zoomed in and you look at it that way, I see, I see the problem. But I think if you zoom out and look at it on like a bigger scale, like you just said, I understand what it is that they're trying to do, but also I understand where you're coming from with flying. Where do I stand?

Chimzy: Honestly, I don't know.

oin us for our next episode. [:

Mathew: The Hydro was a, a brilliant diversification farm, diversification for us because as I said, half of our income is from that now.

Charles: I saw the hydro myself. I was impressed.

Chimzy: The People to People Podcast is independently produced by US Chimzy Dory, and Hazel Darwin- Clements, but was commissioned by the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

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About the Podcast

People to People podcast
Exploring the Unique Partnership between Scotland and Malawi
We're exploring International Partnerships by having People to People conversations. As a Scot and a Malawian, we're particularly looking at the friendship between Scotland and Malawi. We chat about climate justice, gender, equality, COVID, privilege, history, farming and the future, oh... and MANGOES! Everyone wants to tell us how good Mangoes taste in Malawi. An important and complicated conversation filled with laughter, respect and warm-hearted love.

How can you have an equal partnership when one country is so rich and the other is so poor? If we recognise our privilege- what happens next? What does Restorative Climate Justice actually mean? Can you really grow all your family needs in a quarter acre? How has the pandemic changed our partnerships? How can friendship help protect the Lillian's Lovebird?

We want to include as many people as possible in the conversation.
Email: peopletopeoplepod@gmail.com

**Hosted and produced by Chimzy Dorey and Hazel Darwin-Clements**
Supported by the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

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