When we think of sports in Namibia, volunteers often don’t come to mind but they are tremendously important to the Namibian sports industry. In fact, they are one of the concrete pillars keeping the Namibian sport moving forward.
Deep in the regions, schools in villages, smaller clubs and rural clubs, in particular, rely on the generous contributions of volunteers to keep the cost of sports accessible to the community. In many clubs, passionate fathers, mothers and community members volunteer to provide services such as refereeing, coaching and even first aid medical assistance. Besides the remarkable job the volunteers do for the community, the benefits of volunteering are equally documented, records have it that sports volunteers live a healthier lifestyle. They also are more community-oriented and report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction when compared to those who do not volunteer.
We have seen that sports clubs bring communities together and in many rural towns when the local teams win, the town wins. These are some of the satisfaction and joy that volunteers bring to the community. Many of them give up their free time with no reward other than the satisfaction of seeing others succeed in sport. Today the positive benefits of physical activity and connection with one’s community are well known. This means more than ever we need people willing to give of their time to support and run local clubs. In conclusion, I would encourage everyone out there to volunteer because it benefits not only you but every single person you meet in the role.
In addition to that, all stakeholders involved in sports development need to integrate sports volunteer training programs to upgrade the expertise and skills for sports volunteers. On the other hand, this will be a progressive initiative that can also contribute and help the country to achieve the 2030 national development plan goals in sports development.
*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org