It’s hard to ignore the rise of netball in Malawi, as the Malawi Queens really stamped their name on the international scene with victory over England Roses to claim bronze, in last year’s Fast5 World Series in Sydney.
While star shooter Mwayi Kumwenda is a professional netballer for Melbourne Vixens in the Australian Netball League and Joyce Mvula is the first Malawian to play in the UK Netball Superleague.
However, it could be argued that Mwayi and Joyce are exceptions to the rule in Malawi and have succeeded despite the lack of equipment, kit and facilities. There is financial hardship throughout the land-locked country in south east Africa, but they are using netball as a positive influence and inspiration for the female population.
These players started as young girls in their communities and often as part of projects set-up by charities. One such project is the Phunzira project base in northern Malawi, founded in 2009 the UK-based charity’s main aim was to improve education and healthcare.
Encouraging youngsters to engage in sport is recognised as an important part of sustaining such projects and Dr Philippa Mander, a health co-ordinator at the Phunzira charity, contacted Netball UK looking for donations towards the project.
Dr Mander said: “Thank you again so much for your extremely kind donation of two sets of netball kits to the Nyumba Ya Masambiro youth club. The club members are absolutely thrilled with the donation and they have held both an inaugural match and a mini tournament against a local school netball team in celebration of these donations. They also use the bibs weekly in their sports session. Having these bibs has really boosted female engagement both with sports and with youth club attendance in general for which we are very grateful.”
Mike Greenwood, director at Netball UK added: “When Dr Mander contacted us it really was a no-brainer, such a modest donation can have a huge impact on these youngsters.”
“In light of this story and having a great partnership with Manchester Thunder we are looking at a way we can support a project on a regular basis linking in with their Malawian player Joyce Mvula and her netball community.”
You cannot deny the Malawians strength out of adversity. Their passion for netball is undeniable and you wouldn’t bet against them improving on their current ranking of 6th in the world. Go Malawi!
You can read more about the Phunzira project by clicking here… http://www.phunzira.org/Welcome.aspx