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Rugby project seeks to teach Kenyan children sporting virtues

12 January 2024

Diocese of Mumias

A CONSIGNMENT of rugby balls has arrived in Kenya, ready for the start of a new project that combines faith with sport.

The UK-based organisation Project Touchline has formed a partnership with the Anglican diocese of Mumias, in western Kenya, and All Saints’, Bisley, in Gloucester diocese, to replicate a scheme in use in the UK.

Speaking last month, on the day that the equipment arrived in Kenya, the founder of Project Touchline, Chris Andrew, who is a Reader and a member of the College of Archbishops’ Evangelists, was excited to see the scheme at work in a new continent. “These things don’t play out without divine help,” he said.

The Bishop of Mumias, Dr Joseph Wandera, had become interested in Mr Andrew’s work in sports ministry, and was keen to see how it could translate from England and Wales to western Kenya.

The model used in schools in the UK starts with collective worship, before proceeding to rugby-based games designed to encourage values such as respect, trust, perseverance, and love.

“The value comes first, and the game comes second,” Mr Andrew said. Bible stories were a central part of the sessions.

Chaplains in Kenya will deliver the project, after training is provided, free of charge, by Mr Andrew, and equipment, including balls and tags, has been shipped out. “Our role is about training and equipping and encouraging and empowering,” he said.

More training is scheduled later this month, and pilot workshops are to be held in a school in February.

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