More than 100 youth and pre-primary learners attended the first-ever Game Changers event aimed at developing their physical skills and modifying behaviour in Keetmanshoop last week.
The programme intended to affect a significant shift in participants’ current way of doing or thinking, and pave the way to regain and nurture respect and discipline among them during sports events.
Sponsored through Commonwealth funding, the event saw participants doing running, throwing and jumping activities, as well as drama and dance plays with messages warning against social evils such as substance abuse, gender-based violence and sexual abuse.
Before handing over certificates to participants, Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) secretary general (SG), Joan Smit said sport is about volunteerism, and events such as Game Changers are vital as it allows participants to become game changers in life and further plough back knowledge gained into their communities.
“The NNOC has the mandate to run Olympic and Commonwealth sports events and programmes, hence the need to run events of this kind in Namibia, and particularly as a very first in the //Kharas region,” she said.
Smit continued that the sports body recently received a grant of almost N$100 000 from the Commonwealth Secretariat, and invited organisations to submit proposals for funding.
“We received a funding proposal from the
//Kharas region for their Game Changers activity, which aims to empower the community in the region, and we are therefore glad to assist accordingly,” she added.
The SG then gave the assurance that the NNOC will try its level best to host at least one such event each year in the //Kharas region.
On his part, programme coordinator Wolfgang Cloete said he realised the need for initiatives such as Game Changers based on the youth being bored and as a result, turn to social evils such as substance abuse which, most of the time, lead to crime and unplanned pregnancies.
“Through this exercise, we can keep them active and productive in a safe and conducive environment,” he explained. Cloete vowed to constantly monitor and evaluate participants’ progress in order to determine follow up interventions, pending the availability of funding. He suggested the Game Changers programme be extended to schools as part of the life skills curriculum, in order to foster and bring about productive and assertive citizens.
Nadia Swartbooi, one of the participants, said she used to be hesitant to partake in sport but after this programme, has changed her mind. “I realised that sport can improve my physical abilities and is furthermore healthy for one’s body, mind and soul,” she added.