Positive moves for African Para sport

Coach & Mentoring solutions has been spreading the word through training courses held in Benin as part of NPC Development Programme powered by Toyota.

Eight African National Paralympic Committees took part in the latest Agitos Foundation workshops in Benin.
© • Agitos Foundation

Para sport in Africa continues to move forward after recent Agitos FoundationOrganisational Capacity Programme (OCP) training events wrapped up in Cotonou, Benin, on 13 August.

The two events were follow-ups from June’s launch meeting in Benin, where the country’s first OCP event was hosted under the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Development Programme powered by Toyota.

The OCP looks to develop Para sport at a national level via a two-year mentoring process, and the steps to do so for many African nations are currently underway.

In Cotonou, a four-day Level 1 training workshop involved two prospective Programme Leads from eight NPCs (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) who are expected to take the knowledge and skills they learn back to their respective NPCs. They learned specifically about how to develop strong workshop facilitation skills, effectively transfer knowledge to participants, administer an OCP event and achieve tangible outcomes.

“I am leaving this workshop enriched with new knowledge that will be very useful for our NPC,” said Claude Magbli Koya of Cote d’Ivoire. “The organisation of the OCP national workshops will boost Paralympic sports in Cote d’Ivoire. Thanks Agitos Foundation for this education!”

Although most countries are ratified to the United Nations Convention of the rights of people with disabilities, inclusive practices are not widespread. This is a challenge for many African nations when it comes to developing Para sport. One of the key issues discussed in the training is the challenge faced by the lack of inclusive physical education throughout Africa. Additionally, encouraging gender balance in Para sports leadership was another important topic covered, and it was the NPCs of Mali and Benin who served as model examples for others in the region to follow.

One participant said: “The OCP should be implemented all over Africa to allow us to move forward more and more.”

Prior to the training workshop, a three-day course was held to train new French and English-speaking educators for the OCP, which was conducted by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Academy, an education partner of the Paralympic Movement’s global governing body. With the subsequent OCP training workshop the newly trained educators had then their first hands-on experience.

The Agitos Foundation is the development arm of the IPC. The OCP is designed to encourage increased professionalism, more support from governments, corporates and development agencies, new local partnerships and better visibility, with the ultimate aim of creating sustainable pathways for Para athletes of all levels.

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A journey in sport and business

A Journey in Sport and Business

Coach & Mentoring Solutions was set up in late 2013 by Tony Robinson to make more widely available the skills, abilities and qualifications he had built throughout a 50-year journey in sport and business.

Tony offers a unique combination of teaching, business understanding and coach education skills that allow him to provide effective coaching and mentoring support across a wide range of business and sports environments. His experience, which includes eight years as a teacher and nine years each as a director of an international business and in coach development for the RFU, gives him unique insight into the potential synergies between sports and business coaching.

The younger son of a family that moved a lot, Tony learned to play rugby in South Wales in the late 1960s when his dad was working in Bridgend and the family doctors were JPR Williams’s parents. Another move took him to Paris, where he helped found the British School’s rugby team while playing for Paris University Club (PUC).

Having moved back to the UK to study for a BEd in PE at St Lukes, Exeter University, he won England Students rugby caps alongside Bryan Moore and then played for Saracens while teaching in North London. After an injury took him out of the game for a year, ‘Robbo’ spent many happy pre-professional era years at London Scottish while helping manage his family’s international business.

This experience as sales and marketing director of an entrepreneurial business startup has been crucial in his ability to apply coach and mentoring skills across a wide range of business environments. Grafted onto more formal coaching and mentoring training, it proved to be a great platform for the work he has subsequently done with Ashridge Business school and other workforce coaching and mentoring initiatives.

Tony moved back into sport in 2006, spending nine years in coach and player development at the RFU, which enabled him to develop unrivalled qualifications and experience in all aspects of UK coach education, development and mentoring. As a World Academy of Sport and World Rugby trainer, and head coach educator for the Penguins Rugby Academy, he has delivered major international programmes all over the world.