The annual Schools Rugby Festival, which this year changed its sponsorship partner from Cottco to Dairibord, has made positive moves towards developing young people.
This comes after media reports exposed some dubious behavior by the attendees at last year’s event. Festival director Sebastian Garikai explains, “We have put in place an ethics committee that will see to it that people who would like to come to the festival are well taught in advance as to what we expect.” He said the committee will educate young boys and girls on sex, appropriate dressing and expected conduct among other things.
Last year, media was awash with reports of young people who were caught engaging in sexual activities. Many young boys and girls were criticised for dressing ‘improperly’ while alcohol abuse was common.
As a result the festival has also banned evening matches, where most of the mentioned practices were taking place.
Prince Edward School headmaster Agrippa Sora said, “We will not allow alcohol to enter our premise be it with adults or minors.” He added that alcoholic beverages will be confiscated and the school reserves the right of admission.
Security has also been increased. Garikai said, “We will involve 90 more security guards who will be inducted on how to manage our festival. I’m sure those who were present in the previous years have also learnt from mistakes made in the past to do their jobs better.”
Other improvements include the educational program that includes a careers guidance element for players. “During their free time, players will be taught on being professional sports persons and on other career options outside of sport,” said Garikai. He said they want to help young people gain insight into different career paths.
The education programs also encompass sex education, male circumcision, sports and event management, sports physiology and anti doping. “To make those who are not gifted in sport a part of the festival, we will have some dance groups entertaining people during half time break,” added Garikai. He said those who have interest in writing will contribute to the festival’s daily newsletter.
For the first time ever, the festival will be co-hosted by Prince Edward and Allan Wilson School. “Some of our games will be played at the neighboring Allan Wilson,” said Garikai.
Meanwhile, Dairibord Private Limited has signed a three year sponsorship contract worth more than $120,000 per year. This follows the lapse of the festival’s sponsorship deal with Cottco which ran for 15 years. Dairibord managing director Thompson Mabika said, “The sponsorship is strategic for Dairibord as it reinforces our healthy ethos and gives us an opportunity to target a captive school-going audience and grow the market of our products.” He said the company subscribes to the belief that sports play a major role in building character, promoting a healthier way of life and unifying people.
The festival attracts over 3,500 players from over 150 teams each year. An average of 3,000 people attend the festival on daily basis, a number that increases on weekends. This year’s Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival will run from 5 to 10 May.
Pic: Prince Edward headmaster Aggripa Sora signs the new contract with Dairibord.
Provided by Chenjerai Katanda from www. ssn.co.zw