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Sports gala promotes health, innovation

The five-day gala ran from Monday 18 to Friday 22 and was supported by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development

CHIBERO Agricultural College situated in Mashonaland West province about 66 kilometres from Harare was the host of this year’s inter-agricultural college sports gala themed “Empowering Agri-Champions: Cultivating Sustainable Futures through Sports and Health.”

There are nine agricultural colleges in Zimbabwe namely the host institution Chibero Agricultural College, Mazowe Veterinary College (Mashonaland Central), Esigodini Agricultural College (Matabeleland Province), Shamva Agricultural College (Mashonaland Central Province), Gwebi Agricultural College (Mashonaland Province), Kushinga Phikelela Agricultural College (Marondera), Mlezu Agricultural College (Midlands Province), Rio-Tinto Agricultural College in Kadoma as well as the Zimbabwe Online Agricultural College (ZOAC).

In attendance were the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Professor Obert Jiri, event sponsors and partners, directors of agricultural institutions and their principals as well as clinical service providers.

Coordinated by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Colleges Sports Association of Zimbabwe (ZACSA), the gala is an annual event that includes male and female participants from eight colleges who meet to compete in various disciplines such as tug of war, netball, soccer, snooker, volleyball, darts, pool and chess among a few others.

The five-day gala ran from Monday 18 to Friday 22 and was supported by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Students And Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) who provided soccer jerseys, balls and medals, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council who offered Sexual Reproductive Health services on site, Farmer’s Choice and Easi Seeds.

Rumbidzai Mabuto the Provincial Programs Officer at SAYWHAT told The Sports Hub that they were disseminating information on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) and contemporary issues that affect young people which would in turn generate demand for service provision such as HIV testing, contraceptives, STI screening and treatment.

“We had evening events that gave students a platform to showcase how much information and knowledge they have on issues affecting them as students and young people and these were articulated through drama, quiz and a beauty pageant dubbed Mr and Miss Agri-wellness,”she said.

The principal of the host institution Philip Mushayi emphasised the importance of involving youths in sports to remove them from the evils of drugs.

“I am sure everyone in the country knows that we have a drug problem. Sports are also a potential employment opportunity for the youth and it encourages the general wellness of the students and the population at large. The other objective of this inter-college gala is for the students to interact with each other and create unity. We are also detoxifying them from their usual packed-up academic program,” he said adding that the main purpose of the gala is spelled out in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Chibero has various projects including poultry, piggery, cattle, horticulture and fish farming.

Maruza also said they are pursuing Agricultural Education for Development 5.0, a curriculum that has five pillars, the first being training where the focus is on student-centered learning.

“The school also has a pillar known as the extension and business advisory. We want our students to be able to go out into the farms and advise farmers to be business people. We are moving away from the idea of taking farming for the sake of farming but instead turning them into business units.”

The school is now cultivating an attitude of research in their students to research and solve problems for farmers. “Innovation is the buzzword these days therefore we want our students to come up with new ideas or experiment with existing ideas and improve them. The last pillar is commercialisation, industrialisation and entrepreneurship. The thrust is to move away from job seekers to job creators.”

Winners from each college were awarded cash prizes ranging between USD20 and USD300 including medals, shields, balls and kits. Gwebi College took the top spot as the overall performer followed by Esigodini, Kushinga Phikelela, Mlezu, Rio Tinto, Chibero, Shamva and Rio Tinto.

Last year the sports gala was hosted at Kushinga Phumelela Agricultural College and next year it will be in Esigodini.

ZAZCA is an association mandated to ensure all sporting activities within the Department of Agricultural Education are running smoothly. Its roles include the mobilisation of resources, linking the department with external partners, formulation and amendments of the constitution. It also plays an important role before, during and after the sports galas ensuring that there is good officiating, resource utilisation, security and sanitation


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