ICC Associate Members found ways to make a difference to individuals and communities despite the challenges of a pandemic.
A Bhutan women’s national team player cooked meals for more than 2000 volunteers a day during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A journalist in Nigeria whose basic cricket skills helped her keep young girls off the streets. A safe space for women in Samoa to talk about cricket, health and life with all its ups and downs. USA cricketers showing how to do fielding drills at home are just some of the stories we are celebrating with the ICC Development Awards 2020.
April 6, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, is an occasion to recognise the positive role that sport plays in people’s lives. At a time of global crisis, when communities across the world are dealing with loss and new challenges, the lessons from sport – of perseverance, kinship and respect – are especially relevant. And these are the values reflected in the ICC Development Awards.
From Peru to Malaysia, Namibia to Italy, Kuwait and Nepal, ICC Associate Members have been working to grow the game, while empowering individuals and reaching out to communities.
The awards recognise their efforts in the categories of ‘Development Initiative of the Year’, ‘100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year’, ‘Digital Fan Engagement of the Year’ and ‘Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of the Year’, with one winner from each of the five regions Africa, Americas, Asia, East-Asia Pacific, Europe in each category.
These regional winners then serve as the nominees for the global awards to be announced on 20 April.
Pivoting for the pandemic
Taking centre stage in this edition of the awards are initiatives where Members pitched in to make life during the pandemic just a little easier.
Players and staff of the Bhutan Cricket Council Board were frontline workers, preparing meals, delivering food, working in hospitals, patrolling to ensure people followed protocols. One cricket coordinator spent 65 days in the Bipla jungle on patrol, walking for up to 10 hours a day to do his job.
Uganda Cricket Association offered aid of food, essentials and financial assistance to over 100 cricket teachers and their families, as well as some players from less privileged neighbourhoods.
Persatuan Cricket Indonesia distributed 200 masks in their neighbourhood and used their national platform to promote health and safety messages through a webinar series, social media engagement and videos of how to play cricket at home.
And the ‘Cricket-ena’ programme from Cricket Peru aimed to inspire movement and connection, and promote the well-being of young people in the midst of lockdown. What began as a WhatsApp group for children aged 4-14 to exercise at home, expanded to Zoom classes and an online summer academy for older students, as well as a teacher training course.
All these programmes are regional winners and global nominees in the Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative category. But creative ideas to make the most of a difficult situation find recognition in the other categories as well.
For Cricket Namibia, the lockdown was an opportunity to focus on the development of the workforce, players and coaches, through online learning. Seven admin staff took 27 academic courses, including in project management, marketing, risk management and leadership. Players benefitted from life-skills programmes, including financial planning, media training and nutrition – skills they would find useful in dual careers. Coach education programmes were high priority, with 281 coaches reached at various levels.
Similarly, Cricket Argentina designed 17 free courses in Spanish to develop more coaches, umpires and scorers. Coaches who were a part of the programme were able to start cricket in three new clubs. The course material was made available to the rest of the region, with seven other Spanish-speaking countries reached.
USA Cricket’s #TrainAtHome campaign had top cricketers and staff show how to do simple cricket skills-based drills at home. These fun videos were viewed 85,000 times across channels. A similar initiative in Indonesia saw 600+ videos come in from athletes, who sent videos of them practising at home, even as coaches shared tutorials. The also held a ‘virtual bowlers’ competition’ with 80 participants, and umpires and spectators watching over Zoom.
Post lockdown cheer
Nepal and Vanuatu did well to bring cheer back to their fans with the quick (and safe) resumption of cricket. The best part: much of it was on TV or livestreamed.
Around 2000 women and 1900 men featured in local tournaments in Nepal, with sponsors coming on board too.
In April 2020, Vanuatu became the first country to resume sporting activity. The women’s T20 grand finals was broadcast on Facebook, taking the event far beyond the 300,000 population of the beautiful Pacific islands. Its reach of 793 million showed just how it had been a succour in trying times for everyone. And that’s not all: When the women’s national team travelled to the islands of Santo and Malekula, they found that girls and women had been inspired to try cricket for the first time after watching the stream. Four brand new teams have now been set up on those islands. The successful broadcast and the consequent participation growth have given Vanuatu Cricket nominations in both the Digital Fan Engagement and 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative categories.
The full list of regional winners and global nominees in each category are below. The Global Award winners will be announced on 20 April.
ICC Development Initiative of the Year
Cricket Namibia - Capacity Building
Cricket Argentina - Online Coaching, Umpiring and Scoring Courses
Cricket Association of Nepal – The return of cricket
Vanuatu Cricket Association - Live Stream of the Vanuatu Women's Club Cricket T20 Grand Final & Santo Women’s T20 Competition.
Cricket Italy - Cricketmania
100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year
Cricket Brasil - Central Contracts
Danish Cricket Federation - Female Participation Programme
Nigeria Cricket Federation - Girls Aspire
Samoa International Cricket Association - Healthy Nanas Programme
Malaysian Cricket Association - Awareness Programmes
ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year
Vanuatu Cricket Association - Live Stream Of The Vanuatu T10 Blast And The Women’s T20 Grand Final
USA Cricket - #TrainAtHome
Jersey Cricket Board - Fairway Super Series
Cricket Namibia - National Promotion of Awards Win
Kuwait Cricket - Digital Media / Marketing Campaign
Cricket 4 Good Social Impact of the Year
Bhutan Cricket Council Board - Covid-19 Response
Uganda Cricket Association - Covid-19 Relief
Persatuan Cricket Indonesia - Digital Cricket for Good
Cricket Italy - Environmental Sustainability Project
Cricket Peru - Cricket-Ena’