Colvin backs World AIDS Day
England women’s spinner Holly Colvin has given her support to World AIDS Day tomorrow as part of the International Cricket Council's Think Wise partnership, which has been run in collaboration with UNAIDS and UNICEF since 2003.
Colvin recently spent two weeks in Kenya working with Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB), a charity and Think Wise delivery partner that uses cricket to deliver HIV and AIDS awareness messages.
During the 23-year-old's trip, a CWB schools' tournament in the Maasai region of Kenya featured a mobile testing centre for the first time.
Colvin, who was the second highest wicket-taker at this autumn’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, says the experience opened her eyes to the impact cricket can have in delivering valuable life lessons, particularly around HIV and AIDS awareness, and empowering girls and young women.
"I think one of the major steps forward that CWB is making in schools is to run mixed tournaments. All the teams had to contain four girls and four boys unless it was an all-girls school. It made the boys respect the girls as they were an important part of the team too,” she said.
Colvin is now preparing for the Women's World Cup, which will be played in five venues across Mumbai from January 31 to February 17 and host further Think Wise activities.
Here is her blog about her time in Kenya:
The first week was spent in Nakuru where Cricket Without Boundaries have been before.
We spent the first two days doing coach education with the local teachers, coaches and players. This was so much fun and so good to see an even split between male and female coaches.
The next two days were spent going into schools - nine in total. In one school 86 children soon turned into 500. This trip has certainly taught me to be adaptable, silly and so much more confident with the kids.
In total we coached 3,026 children and trained 26 coaches in four days - an incredible achievement in a short space of time.
The final day was spent running the schools tournament, in which all the teams were mixed - four girls and four boys. It was amazing to see the natural talent in Kenya; beautiful actions and killer arms.
There was one girl, Faith, who clean-bowled a boy twice her size and the rest of the team came running up to her. She was an integral part of the team and respected by the boys. It reminded me of my childhood cricket and was amazing to see. All in all it was a hectic but brilliant week.
In the second week we travelled to the Laikipia area of Kenya, which was much more remote. We stayed in the middle of a private national park and so our commute to 'work' everyday was a safari on two land cruisers.
Our first day was spent at the One More Day for Children Centre. This was set up to rescue girls from the age of 10 who had run away from forced marriages. They had huge smiles on their faces, loved cricket for the first time and even gave us a singing performance.
We then spent two days again doing coach education with local teachers and Maasai Warriors, one of which even walked five hours just to get there.
The next two days were spent coaching in the most remote schools CWB has ever visited. I have no idea how 300 kids walk to school for a 7am start. They were still really keen but the language barrier was proving an issue so I took it upon myself to learn a few key words in Swahili-this definitely helped.
At the schools tournament, for the first time ever, there was an AIDS testing centre put up, where over 50 children were tested. Plus at the end of the day I got to judge the presentations that all the schools had put together about key issues in the spreading of AIDs. They were all very impressive but I chose the Lentil Hills Academy as my winners.
On the final day we played a game against the Maasai Warriors, which we won. They too gave us a performance and challenged us to a jump off. It's safe to say I lost and I need to work on my leg power.
The trip wouldn't have been made possible without the generous donations from those who bought my raffle tickets. I managed to raise a total of £1,477 almost double the amount required. I had the most incredible experience as the country itself is stunning and the people there are so friendly.
I went out to Kenya with six other people, having only met one of them before. I've now come back with friends and memories for life in the space of only two weeks.
I can only but urge anyone thinking about broadening their horizons and gaining some coaching skills to go on one of these trips. You don't even need to have a cricketing background. I am certainly hoping to go again in the next few years and will stay involved with the charity as much as possible.
Read Holly's blogs from the trip at http://cwbblogs.com/kenya12
For more information about Cricket Without Boundaries go to www.cricketwithoutboundaries.com