Sandra Teta was part of the team that represented Rwanda in the recently concluded World University Debate Championship in Botswana. She speaks about her experience.
When did you start debating?
I have been debating for the past five years but I started doing competitive debating in 2008 while at Lycee De Kigali.
What was the World University Debate Championship about?
This is the most prestigious debating championship in the world. Its comparable to the world cup in football. It brings together the finest debaters from all over the world. It was happening for the 31st time in its history and for the second time in Africa.
Who participates in this tournament?
The finest debaters in the world. This year we had about 50 countries participating and Rwanda was also represented in this tournament making it a great year for Africa after hosting the World Cup.
What happens in this tournament?
The participants debate about different topics ranging from politics, economic policies and social issues. It is a very competitive tournament where one needs to be well informed hence the value of research!
What are some of the challenges that you met?
Well, most people have been debating for decades while it has been less than a decade in Rwanda. This exposed our lack of experience especially against the European teams.
Secondly the research facilities are not enough. More people had all the reading material they needed. This posed a great challenge to us.
What was the position of Rwanda?
Rwanda did great because we were the best African country in the English Second Language (ESL). However, we need to build on this if we are to compete with the other countries and bring the prize home next year.
What next after this?
I and my teammates are going to come up with a working frame on how we can share our experiences. Secondly, we are going to start to look for funding so that Rwanda can participate in the next tournament which will be in Manila Philippines in December 2011.