Rwanda Cricket Association (RAC) was last Thursday recognized by International Cricket Council (ICC) as the winner of the 2015 cricket development annual programme. Rwanda wins the award for the second consecutive time, having also received it in 2014.
The ICC annual development programme award was established to recognize and acknowledge the efforts of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the development and growth of cricket across the world.
“We congratulate Rwanda Cricket Association upon winning this award for the second time in a row,” said ICC president Abbas Zaheer.
He noted that RCA has done tremendous work towards the development and growth of cricket in Rwanda. “They have a lot of cricket projects that are a geared towards promoting cricket awareness in the country and the number of cricketers has fundamentally increased compared to a decade ago.”
“Two ICC awards in two year’s is a testimony that indeed as per our slogan we are growing with every step,” RCA president Charles Haba told Sunday Sport. Haba will receive the award during the ICC annual conference in Edinburg, Scotland next month.
Cricket planted roots in Rwanda and very few people knew about it and what started as a game for leisure by a group of few individuals, has turned out to be a very competitive sport with now over 13 clubs both men and women competing in various tournaments both on local and continental levels.
Rwanda Cricket association has managed to create cricket awareness to over 10,000 people with the youth and the young children in the sport mounting to 7000 throughout the country.
This has been achieved through various projects among them, is Cricket without Boundaries, which is organized every year with an aim of extending the game to all areas in the country as well as emphasizing the youth to abstain and guard against sexually transmitted diseases.
Moving around the country, Cricket without Boundaries, UK-based charity organization, has succeeded in improving cricket participation as well as using it as a vehicle to promote familiar with HIV/AIDS awareness.
In 2011, 300 children were introduced to cricket and many have become senior national team players. Some of them have started cricket clubs in their schools and this resulted into inter-schools cricket competition.
First organized by RCA in 2011, with an intention of increasing cricket awareness in the country at an early age, the annual inter-schools competition has gone on to produce great players.
The success of this program resulted into the formation of U- 19 national team, for both boys and girls and these have participated in various regional and continental competitions.
Holiday makers’ cricket programme
In a further bid to promote cricket in the country, RCA embarked on major plans to see the game spread to the grassroots and this was done through what they dubbed “Holiday Makers’ Cricket” camps.
With Kinihira in Musanze District, Northern Province being the first spot where the project was carried out from, over 1,500 kids were exposed to the sport, and the second project was held in Ndera in Gasabo District, where 125 adults and youngsters from surrounding schools attended the week-long camp which was aimed at introducing cricket in the area.
This program has been implemented throughout the country at all levels ranging from young children, youth and adults. Primary schools, secondary schools and more recently, the sport was introduced in some higher institutions of learning.
RCA president Haba notes that the success of Holiday Makers’ Cricket program is a sign of how deep-rooted their development program and further manifested in the composition of the national teams, both men and women at all levels, which is entirely a product of school’s development program.