This year’s programme in Mozambique has proved more successful than ever. Not only have we taught a record number of children in one day, we’re breaking down barriers by training women to become swimming teachers.
We believe our programme, which we deliver with local partner Love the Oceans, moved up a gear this summer and learning to swim is becoming truly embedded in the community.
Our trustee and experienced swim teacher, Robert Hamilton, made a second visit to Guinjata, to help develop the programme. Robert has a 29-year career in the swimming industry, covering everything from grassroots instruction to elite-level coaching. He picks up the story…
“A sense of anticipation fills the air every morning as the sun rises over the bay. The sight of children eagerly waiting by the water’s edge, their faces filled with curiosity and a sense of adventure, speaks volumes about the impact of our aquatic training programme.
“In a country with an extensive coastline, the lack of formal swimming education has long been an issue. The recent increase in drowning incidents highlighted the need for immediate change. Enter the STA International Swimming Teacher and Pool Lifeguard courses, programmes designed to empower communities by imparting essential aquatic skills.
“This year’s programme was particularly close to my heart because of its focus on engaging directly with local communities and empowering women to become swimming teachers—a first in the region.”
We had two objectives for this summer’s programme: first, to provide a strong foundation in teaching methodologies and skills for effective swim instruction. This was especially targeted towards local women to promote gender inclusivity; second, to arm local people with the necessary pool rescue skills, including first aid and CPR techniques.
It wasn’t without its challenges, but these were overcome. Robert said: “Language barriers were effectively broken down by hiring local translators. Inclement weather did make its presence known, but wetsuits and temporary shelters ensured our programme remained undeterred.”
The results were outstanding. Four local women became certified swimming teachers, a milestone for both the programme and the local community. A remarkable increase in community engagement was observed, with 189 children attending in one day. Finally, local community officers, including Pasquale and Mario, were upskilled, which will enable them to contribute to future training efforts.
Robert said: “The ripple effect of these courses is already visible. With trained teachers and lifeguards in place, we’re anticipating an uplift in the swimming culture here, thereby mitigating the risks associated with water.”
We want to build on this success, and are planning to partner with local schools to integrate swimming into their curriculum, and introduce more advanced courses for those wanting to further develop their skills.
A final word from Robert: “The Mozambique Aquatic Training Programme 2023 was not just another set of courses; it was a watershed moment for the community, setting new benchmarks in inclusivity, community engagement, and skill-building. As I reflect on this extraordinary journey, it fills me with an immense sense of pride and hope for the future.”If you would like to find out more about our work, or get involved in any of the programmes we run, please get in touch with the team.