• Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Twenty-one female students of Tare Pet Montessori Group of Schools, Yanagoa, Bayelsa State have graduated from the Sporting Coders pilot programme organised by the Community Sports and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative and the Management of the school.

This first-of-its-kind training programme in Nigeria which combined training in the sport of netball and coding is aimed at introducing the participants to basic training in coding, as well as laying the foundation for them to consider future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), an area where female are currently underrepresented.

The twelve weeks training programme which started in the first week of January 2024, involved the participants doing their coding training every Saturday morning for two hours, which is then followed by two hours of netball training. Free lunch was provided to the netballers by the school cooks.

To sustain the interest of the students from the rigorous training of the netball coaches that are led by Funsho Ekundayo, the students were provided with two educational vouchers worth ten thousand Naira on each occasion. Furthermore, three of their ex-netball colleagues who are now in universities were provided with educational vouchers worth fifty thousand Naira by the training organisers, who have Lord’s Taverners (UK-based charity), as their kits supplier.

The students were provided with twelve netball training/match balls and two separate sets of sports jerseys and training bibs. During the period of the training course, CSED Initiative donated one hundred and ten general interest books to the school library, as well as a new laptop to the Management of the school, who did everything within their power to ensure the success of the training programme.

The parents of the 21 students were also not to be outdone, as they showed up in numbers during the school’s recently held inter-house sports competition and on the gradation day of the Sporting Coders programme, to support their daughters.

The school Proprietress, Mrs. Victoria Mologe advised the students to work hard and consider developing their sporting talent, while still pursuing their academic or professional careers. Tare Pet School are currently the netball champion of Bayelsa State.

The captain of the team, Alaere Wisdom, lauded the coaches, parents, teachers and sponsors for providing them with the opportunity to access this free girl child-friendly training programme. In her remark, the Director Technical Bayelsa State Sports Council, Mrs. Catherine Sasoude stated that while growing up in the 80s her parents used to discourage her from taking part in sports, but she managed to combine sport and education together.

As a result, she is now supporting her two daughters to take part in sports, and netball is currently their sport of choice, after they have tried other sports. Mrs. Sasoude thanked the sponsors (CSED Initiative and Lord’s Taverners) for investing in the leaders of tomorrow.

On his part, the Head of School Sports Coordinators in Bayelsa State, Mr. Godwin Adagbo, stated that Community Sports and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative training of games masters and games mistresses under their “Project 2027” programme is currently yielding positive results in the state. Bayelsa State Sports Council is the only Sports Council in Nigeria that currently has a functioning netball team that takes part in competitions.

Certificates were presented to the graduating students of the Sporting Coders programme in the presence of their cheering parents, teachers, and fellow students. The biggest cheer of the day was the announcement that the 21 graduates of this programme would be provided with a fifty thousand Naira educational voucher by the organisers, once they show proof of being offered admission into a tertiary educational institution in future. Furthermore, these new graduates would be supported to access online safeguarding training, and they will be tasked with supporting 10 local primary schools to develop their netball access training through the “Bee netball pathway.”

A spokesman for the event organisers stated that CSED Initiative is currently exploring the possibility of rolling out the Sporting Coders programme in other states of Nigeria. They are open to partnership and sponsorship with other relevant NGOs, corporate organisations, and educational institutions. More importantly, subject to the availability of funds, they will consider doing the Sporting Coders training for residents of hard-to-reach communities (IDPs, refugees and wards of the state).

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