England news July 5, 2014

Colvin takes HIV/AIDS sabbatical

Holly Colvin, England's youngest ever debutant, is using her sabbatical from international cricket to use her sport to spread awareness about AIDS in Africa.

Colvin took temporary leave from the game late last year as a means of building a career off the field for herself. That has resulted in work for the Lord's Taverners and Cricket Without Boundaries, an AIDS awareness charity that is using cricket to spread its message.

Colvin first went on a project with the charity to Kenya in 2012, but has recently been made their head of recruitment. She has since visited Uganda and is preparing to lead a trip to Rwanda later this year - and is on the lookout for volunteers.

"I have been lucky enough to travel the world playing cricket and it is amazing to be able to use the game to make a real difference to people's lives," she said.

"Coaching in Africa is completely different to anything I had done back here. To have to adapt my plans at short notice to deal with changes in space, numbers and equipment has definitely made me a more confident, innovative and flexible coach.

"The children over there so enthusiastic and to be coaching cricket in the middle of Africa, in a sea of smiling faces is simply one of the best experiences I have ever had."

CWB is an almost exclusively volunteer-run charity. In 2015 it will fund projects to five African countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Trips are typically two weeks long and include coaching in schools, training local teachers and running cricket festivals.

Groups consist of six to 10 CWB volunteers supported by local coaches from the National Cricket Association. They are a led by a project leader and ECB tutor and training is given to the whole group at a training weekend before departure.

Previous volunteers range from those with experience in several countries such as Colvin to those with no real cricket background at all, like Rebecca Lockyear. "Initially I was concerned about my lack of cricket experience but it is more about interacting with the children, getting them excited about cricket and getting the HIV/AIDS messages across than it is about traditional coaching."

In 2011 there were an estimated 23.5 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa - a staggering 69% of the global AIDS burden. The picture is improving but directly and indirectly, HIV is destroying lives - often causing discrimination and dividing communities.

For more information visit - www.bit.ly/CWBvolunteers2015. Applications close 15 July

Jarrod Kimber was 50% of the Two Chucks, and is the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com