Wild Entrust International

Coach Program

Program Purpose

Coaching for Conservation is the product of many years of deliberation over the key question of how can we have the most impact with our conservation efforts. After 18 years of working in the field of endangered species research, it became clear that sustainable resource management by the citizens of Botswana can only stem from an essential shift in fundamental values: respect for self, the environment, and a positive outlook for the future. This has lead to the birth of this important initiative: youth development and education through organized team sport in northern Botswana.

“Experience in other countries has shown that organized sports programs in schools, villages and towns help significantly in promoting positive values. Coaching for Conservation strives to engender a sense of community and self-respect among participants, to reinforce healthy core values and to link conservation and environmental issues to real health and lifestyle decisions in developing Botswana.“

- Lesley Boggs, Program Director

Coach Program The Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, directed has supported the self-managed Shorobe village football club for the past seven years. Through financial assistance, general support, and enthusiasm, the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust has built positive relations with the residents of Shorobe village who have come to view the research program as partners. It is this relationship that has led to the Coaching for Conservation Program.

Coach Program

Activities

The goal of the Program is to make sport synonymous with healthy lifestyles, respect for self, and respect for the natural world; and to create an exceptional football program for young school-age boys and girls to engage them and get their attention. The Program provides international coaches and mentors who help the young participants build skills with heavy emphasis on fun, sportsmanship and teamwork, and provide them with a positive outlook on life and the future; as well as trains young adult local Batswana in coaching skills and techniques, including the importance of health, preparing them to become mentors for young people in their own communities.

In 2003, Ashley Hammond, director of a successful New York based Soccer Company called Ashley’s Soccer Camps, offered to collaborate in the goal of habitat and endangered species conservation. He has involved professional football coaches from the US to help build a sports development program for primary school children and community football clubs.

In 2008, we are excited to announce that we have grown the program from its foundation in one village in 2003 to an annual week long world class soccer coaching camp being offered to 500 children from all 18 primary schools in Maun. The program helps children develop their football skills while reinforcing important core values around health,citizenship and conservation.

Leadership

Lesley Boggs McNutt, who has been working in Botswana since 1992, directs Coaching for Conservation. Click here to read about Lesley. Coach Program Jordan Scott is co-director and the US- based liaison for the Program. He is a professional soccer coach and program manager of Ashley’s Soccer Camps. Coach Program
Ashley Hammond is the owner and director of Ashley’s Soccer Camps, based in Montclair NJ. He has an unusual dual passion: one for soccer, the other for endangered species conservation. Coaching for Conservation has successfully adopted his model of taking advantage of the captive audience of youth soccer players to educate them, not just about soccer but about important global conservation issues. Coach Program Baitsholedi “B’man” Baitse is the local Program organizer. B’man is from the village of Shorobe and has participated in the Program since 2003. He has now been trained by Ashley’s coaches and is employed as a local trainer, coach, driver and regional program organizer. Coach Program

We are striving to expand the program in four significant ways:

  1. Include Basketball as focal sport for development

    Soccer is traditionally a boys’ sport. Adding basketball—the second most-watched sport in Botswana—to the program is an important step toward encouraging more girls to participate in the program. Although we have made fantastic headway in breaking down the gender barriers in soccer (in 2004 we had zero female participation and by 2007 we have 41 girls involved in the program), girls are still marginalized. By introducing basketball (similar to netball, a popular girls’ sport), we hope to draw the entire female population of local primary schools.

    We would like to encourage national and international basketball personalities to help build this new program of Coaching for Conservation.

  2. Permanent coaching

    At this time, we have an annual coaching clinic that is fast becoming the biggest week of the year for many school children. We would like to be able to offer year-round coaching by employing one fulltime professional coach to maintain coaching skills, standards, and school curriculum and keep the message alive throughout the year.

  3. Purchase a small bus

    One of our greatest restraints to all programs is transportation. Getting kids to the sports facility and/or getting the coaches to the schools require transportation. Each year we have scrambled to hire cars, rent vans and use the services of whomever we can to get kids to the program, but it remains our biggest hurdle and the main reason kids cannot and do not participate. We hope to purchase a used medium-size bus in order to facilitate the success of this program and the safety of the children. Without it, we will struggle to grow and take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by this fantastic program.

  4. Acquire land for Development of a Coaching for Conservation Soccer Field

    With our own field we can eliminate the need for rental fees and competition for space and time. The pitch would be used during the week for kids and on weekends for the growing delta league.

As a donor to Coaching for Conservation, you have a wonderful opportunity to make a significant contribution to both conservation and human health in an important part of the world. We welcome and encourage your support! Visit our donation page to support this and other programs.

Program Updates

August 2008 Report - PDF File