The Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) in partnership with the Cross River State Ministry of Education and the UNHCR Ogoja Zonal Office recently (8th and 9th February 2024) organised a two-day badminton outreach training for Physical and Health Education Teachers from 16 secondary schools.
18 P.E. Teachers were joined by 52 secondary school students, as well as nineteen students/volunteer trainees from the Cameroonian refugee community that reside in the Ogoja local government area. This training event which was held at the premises of St. Catherine College, Igoli, Ogoja is aimed at taking the game of badminton to hard-to-reach and underserved members of the community.
The event was powered by the Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative, as part of their two-year grassroots badminton development agreement with the BFN. The attendees at the training event were taught the basics and practical aspects of the game of badminton by Godswill Ifejika; who is a trained “Shuttle Time” instructor, as well as a Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA) accredited umpire, and he was supported by Nwachukwu Igwe and Obianuju Eneh.
The BFN which is one of the most active sporting Federation that promotes grassroots sports development in Nigeria, decided to organise this particular event to use sport in promoting community integration and peaceful co-existence between the Cameroonian refugees in Adagom, and members of the Ogoja community. At the end of the training event, basic badminton training equipment (rackets, shuttlecocks and nets) was freely distributed to the representatives of the secondary schools, as well as representatives of the three Cameroonian refugee camps that are located in the Ogoja local government area.
During an interview, a representative of the Cameroonian community in Ogoja, Ako Allan Agbor, thanked the event organisers, as he stated that taking part in sports helps to alleviate the trauma of the refugees and will provide them with the opportunity to take part in an organised pro-social activity like badminton. However, Ako Allan Agbor re-echoed the yearnings of the other attendees for government agencies and NGOs to take capacity-building strategies for marginalised groups and residents of rural areas in Nigeria.
A representative of the Cross River State Ministry of Education, Mr Francis Odey urged the P.E. Teachers, the students and members of the Cameroonian community to strive to put into good use the training that they have received from the BFN trainers.