11/09/2010 – Tumba Jaguar Rugby Club Founded by FoRR RDO

FoRR’s mission to drive rugby in rural communities has resulted in the foundation of Rwanda’s newest men’s club. Situated in the far North of the country Jaguar made a successful entrance into the National rugby competition with their maiden victory coming in a game against Remera Puma 7 points to 5.  Founding coach Alexis Sibomana was delighted by the team’s performance and looks to continue to draw talent from the local university to swell the ranks of squad players.

07/09/2010 – Federation of Rwandan Rugby Announces Committee

Results of the Federation AGM have been announced. Dr Otto Vianney Muhinda has been elected President, Alex Araire remains as Vice President (In charge of Marketing), Henry Umwera gets the role of Vice President (Technical), Janvier Ugeziwe continues as Secretary General, Gerald Nsenga moves from VP to National Technical Director and Jean Baptist Itanzi will take the role of Assistant Technical Director.

17/07/2010 – Schools Rugby Rwanda V Democratic Republic of Congo

A young group of rugby players based in Kigali received the opportunity to travel to the North West of the country to play in a game against a team from the neighbouring DRC. It was reported by Kamanda Tharcisse that friendship were formed and knowledge exchanged and in addition to some great rugby the teams took time out to swim in the beautiful Lake Kivu.

04/07/2010 – Northern Schools 7’s Tournament – Gucumbi

Alex Sibomana (RDO Northern Region) has reported that a successful tournament was held in his region this weekend and 6 schools sent a total of 8 teams to participate. Nyagakizi primary school won the tournament after a hard fought final against Mulindi primary.

23/03/2010 – Bhubesi Pride to Include Rwanda

This week Richard Bennett, organiser of Bhubesi Pride, confirmed that Rwanda would be included in the tour program. A trip taking coaches from Cheltenham in the UK to Cape Town in South Africa will pass through Rwanda. Whilst in country the coaches will work in the primary schools around the Tumba area and hold training sessions and games with the desire to contribute to the developing body of knowledge that exists there. Materials will be left with participating schools and the planned venture has received positive feedback from local headteahers and local governing officials. Alex Sibomana will liaise with the incoming tour to maximise positive outcomes for the local children

2009 News

June 2009 – Rugby Takes Hold in the North
Sibomana Alexis has worked hard to take rugby throughout the Northern region. Having received only a couple of visits from UK coaches Alexis has lead the implementation of the game into  Mulindi, Nyagakizi, Kiruhura, Mukarange, Mugina and Bugomba primary schools. He has also been able to work with students from 3 of the secondary schools (Nyagakizi, Kiruhure and Bugomba). Friendly fixtures between Kiruhura, Nyagakizi, Mugina and Murindi have laid the foundation for the possibility of a Northern Schools league which FoRR is aiming to hold in 2011
May 2009 – Second Annual TAG Rugby Tour – Butare
The end of May saw Amanda Furst lead FoRR’s adventure down into the far South of the country with 9 UK coaches intent on introducing the game to as many youngsters as possible. Working within 6 schools including Ecole Primaire de Ngoma Catholique, Ecole Primaire de Ngoma Adventiste, Ecole Primaire Catholique, A.P.E.M., Ecole Primaire de Kibando and Ecole Primaire de Tumba. The team was able to hold a wonderful tournament on 29th May at the end of the 5 day coaching program. Assisted by RDO’s Alex and Mathieu the UK coaches also received support from long time friend to the charity Tharcisse Kamanda and local Grizzles National University rugby player Umugire Alphonse.  Having introduced the game and leaving the teams with masses of equipment it remains an area that the charity will continue to support in future years. The tourists enjoyed a well earned break with a trip to Lake Kivu before returning to the UK.
I got the most amazing feeling of accomplishment and a massive sense of pride watching those great kids put so much into a game of rugby, enthusiasm isn’t the word! The hardest thing to deal with was the sense of not having done enough to help and that’s why I will return. ** Jack Ransome FoRR Tour Coach 2009/10/11

2008 News

May 2008 – New Volunteer Arrives
FoRR was delighted to receive Tom Wagsby into the country. Staying for a few weeks Tom was able to work with several of the schools teams in both Kigali and in the South and left valuable information with the developing teams. He held a series of mini games each afternoon and refereed 2 games on the weekends.
04/10/08 – FoRR Annual General Meeting
With the recent employment of new staff in Rwanda the focus of this meeting stayed largely with designing financial structures to ensure the security of salaries on a continuous basis. Measures were put in place so that accounts could be closely monitored and a plan was introduced to maximise all revenue streams efficiently.  To facilitate that approach an appropriate website was placed high on the list of priorities and the fundraising subcommittee reported back about potential UK schools links that wish to help going forward. The committee decided to re-set the equipment drive process to concentrate on balls, full team strips, tags and cones. Finally discussion were held about the charities relationship with the Federation of Rwandan Rugby, land accusation and the possibilities of annual tours for UK coaches to the country to replicate the one held earlier in the year.
01/06/08 – Rugby Development Officers
FoRR is excited to announce the employment of their first full time Rugby Development Officers (RDO’s). Alexis Sibomana joins the team working hard to develop rugby presence in the Northern Region. Mathieu Muvunyi has taken on the role with a focus of assisting schools in the Southern Region. Both coaches have been supplied with a bicycle and coaching materials as well as equipment for new schools and will be introducing the game to primary and secondary schools. In addition they will have responsible to organise and referee tournaments in their regions with a view to holding inter-regional matches as the teams develop.
May 2008 – Pilot TAG Rugby Tour – Gitarama Region
During the final week of May 3 UK rugby coaches travelled to Rwanda to join trustees Emma Rees and Deena Aiken on the first FoRR coaching tour. Arriving in country Darren Ead, Denise Adams and Sarah Govier undertook the task of initiating 150 P5 primary school children into the game through a series of training sessions. Having requested a core group of 50 students from 3 participating schools the coaching group split down to work with their students from Kabgayi A, Kabgayi B and Shyogwe.  The fifth day of work saw the successful competition of a 6 team tournament held in the Gitarama stadium and after an unseasonal torrential downpour play occurred at a cracking pace. Eventual winners Blue Tigers from Shyogwe collected the cup and all teams were left with materials and equipment to continue their programs. Importantly one teacher from each school was developed throughout the week to receive knowledge and coaching support in the future.
11/05/2008 – A Heartening Display of Women’s Rugby
A trip to Remera-Rukoma was rewarded with a full day of sevens activity exclusively played by girls from 3 participating schools. Remera Rukoma’s two huge schools fielded well-drilled and knowledgeable teams and they spent the day battling in a three way tournament with a team that had travelled from Shyogwe.
17/02/2008 – New Volunteer Arrives
FoRR was delighted to receive Mike Nicolas into the country for a month long stay. With his extensive coaching and business knowledge he was able to spend time working with children in Kigali and made a couple of trips to the North of the country to investigate the activities in the region. One of the highlights of his stay was Mike’s work with the street children of Centre Murembo where his open and smiling attitude was very well received. FoRR’s first venture to Rhungeri coincided with Mike’s visit and 3 days were spent with experienced and enthusiastic players at ISAIE Agricultural University in the beautiful foot hills of the Vurunga Mountains.
January 2008 – 1st Volunteers Return
Kate Alback and Toby Kyle returned to Rwanda for a 3 week stint to continue the work of developing rugby in school and youth groups. In addition they toured this time with 3 of their student from Shanghai.  At the conclusion for their stay the group organised a full contact tournament for Nyabagogo Hairy Crabs, Kicukiru Devils, Buffaloes A team, Buffaloes B team and Nyemerambo.  Concurrently they held a touch tournament for under 14’s and under 16’s that saw 14 teams take part. Prizes were awarded to all those that took part and a huge tournament was greatly received by its’ many participants.  Excellent support for the tournament was given by the local rugby community in the form of organisation and officiating.20/01/2008 – FoRR’s Inaugural Schools League Kicks-off

After many months of hard work Friends of Rwandan Rugby was able to organise and run the first schools league competitions. Four rounds were held concurrently in Kigali and the Gitarama region comprising teams from St Leon, St Joseph, ETO Gitarama, Lycee de Ruhango, Shyogwe, The Red Cross, Ndera, Apade Kichiciru and ESSI Nyamarambo. Eventually league winners from the South, St Josephs, took on Kigali league victors Ndera in the National Schools final. This final game was played in front of a good sized crowd and a tremendous battle saw some wonderful skills from both sides. After an intense 80 minutes, St Josephs from Gitarama were crowned the 2008 Champions and the whole program and final game received good media coverage on the National TV Channel to announce the arrival of schoolboy rugby as a serious force in Rwanda.16/01/2008 – QUIZ Night and Charity Fundraiser

50 of the charities long term supporters attended a fun and informative event in Shepherds Bush. Hosted by Trustee Danny Stoker the evening raised valuable funds and raised interest from rugby club communities where a foundation for future tourists was laid.04/01/2008 – BBC Radio Interview

Emma Rees and Deena Aiken participated in a follow up interview on Five Live, this time with Simon Mayo, which allowed the trustees to report on the work carried out since their previous visit. With a massive audience this 20 minute segment continued to increase the profile of the charity.

2007 News

December 2007

Jean-Baptiste Mukiza and Djuma Adams continue regular training sessions with the Red Cross and Christ for the Nations teams while FoRR Project Managers are away over the Christmas break. Their involvement culminated in a game between the developing teams.10/11/2007 – Annual General Meeting
Founding committee member David Barker , Emma Rees, Danny Stoker, Andrew Pollard, Kirstie Wielandt, Ian Wells, Deena Aiken Lucie Rideot, and Tony Newman gathered to lay down the strategic plan for the development of the charity and the sport in Rwanda. It was decided that the mission of the charity would be to assist the growth of teams and schools participation in rural communities. With a plan for 2 serving trustees to visit the country and seek information about infrastructure specific tangible targets were replaced with creating a structure for continuous feedback and adaptability of the program’s working projects.

23/09/2007 – Team to tour in London
These young players were selected to travel to London to compete in an international tournament of developing nations. They were given access to high level coaching and had an opportunity to make friends and develop their skills. A few wins coupled with a few narrow defeats saw them finish mid table in the competition but we hope that it has laid the foundation for a lifelong passion for rugby and the potential for them to one day become leaders and coaches within the Rwandan rugby community.
HAKAZIMANA Jean Paul, USENGIMANA Fabrice, HABUMUGISHA Moise,  TWAMBALE Aristide, NSENGIYUMVA Jean Paul, KAMANZI Isaac, MUSANA Emmanuel, SHEMA Bryan, IYIZIRE Cedric Yahaya, URWIBUTSO Mihigo Felix, NIYIDUHA Eric, (Coach) GAKARAGE Philip.
20/09/2007 – FoRR Trustees Visit Refugee Camp
Deena Aiken and Emma Rees travelled up to assess the possibility of introducing rugby into this community. After a day spent meeting leaders it was decided that an introduction may be possible once the sport becomes more developed and local coaches are able to become responsible for delivery.
04/08/2007 – BBC Radio Interview
Emma Rees and Deena Aiken featured during the Simon Mayo show on BBC Radio Five Live with Colin Murray. They used the opportunity to raise the profile of the charity and to call for coaching volunteers to travel to the country to further develop the local body of knowledge. In the course of the interview the issue of funds for land purchase was highlighted and as a direct result a generous plead was received which put the charity in a position to take this specific project objective forward.
July 2007 – First Volunteers Arrive
Exciting times for the charity with the arrival of Toby Kyle and Kate Alback. This pair of teachers came to Rwanda loaded with valuable funds raised from the Shanghai school community in which they work but perhaps of greater value was 110 kilograms of equipment they bought to donate to local schools and youth groups. Their time was spent coaching children and young adults from an orphanage, The Red Cross and Universities across the country. At the end of their stay they held a tournament for two age levels 14/15 years and small boys and girls. The children all received a t-shirt for participating and with 70 young people involved the day gave them a chance to have some fun and experience competition many for the first time in their lives.
April to July 2007 – Progress Report
Working with Amanda Furst at Musha secondary school sees the rugby passion spread east. In addition we recently  started work with the Christ for Nations street kids centre based in Nyabagogo, these children are often orphans and are amazingly enthusiastic every time we arrive. The space behind the building in which they live is challenging to say the least but they give every activity their all and they seem particularly pleased learning how to count to 6 “tags” in English. Our coaching continues with Centre Merembo across town in Remera. The children continue to walk the 30 minutes to the playing field in extreme heat to play small sided games with us. Contact sessions are developing and the celebrations of tries have become expressive !! Monday and Thursday afternoons involve visiting the Red Cross education centre where their team is starting to take shape. We now have a crowd of interested spectators who come to the watch the boys and girls train. The development of game awareness has come on in leaps and bounds since the introduction of “intra-club” games after the initial skills based drills are completed.09/06/2007 – Under 14 Tournament
An incredibly exciting morning saw one of the first junior rugby tournaments in Rwandan history. Teams from across the country came together for a TAG competition with a view to indentifying natural talent that could be moulded into a team to travel to London in 3 months time. With huge physical variation it was necessary to try and identify characteristics that could add to the success of a developing squad and some furious action ensued. Multiple teams from Gitarama, Ndera and Kigali took part and the standard was incredible. It is hoped that this tournament can be the catalyst for the development of a level of junior rugby around the country.

09/06/2007 – Coaching Workshop
30 Rwandan coaches attended a workshop to enhance their skills in areas including safety of engagement at scrum time, lineout technique, creating space, communication and ruck clearance. All participations were enthusiastic about future workshops and there was a wonderful atmosphere of community at the meal following the completion of the program.

May 2007 – Brilliant UK Support
SODAM RFC and Northolt RFC adopt Friends of Rwandan Rugby as their charity and raise funds and awareness at their annual charity rugby tournament.

27/05/2007 – Identifying local talent
ETO Ruhango played Ecole Secondaire Ruhango in a closely fought result of 8 – 5. With reports that Emeru also has a team FoRR has identified this southern region for future attention and resources. A decision has been made to search for a Rugby Development Officers for this region.  ** A report was received at this event detailing the success of St Joseph’s against Shyogwe in a friendly played on the previous weekend with a final score of 29 – 12.

12/05/2007 – Puma Club Workshop, Rema Rukoma.
After a bumpy couple of hours on a packed taxi bus it was wonderful to arrive in this rugby aware community. Through the efforts of a former Shyogwe student the Puma club has found a foothold in this area. With 2 huge schools within a couple of kilometres there is an environment to facilitate competitive matches between boys and girls teams. The best of the area are able to compete for Puma in the National men’s league and we were delighted to officiate a local match and run a few skills and drills for the players.

28/04/2007 – Buffaloes Rugby Club & FoRR work together
Resources and coaching expertice from the two organisations combined to hold a joint training session at the Kabgayi training area. With 40 student from the nearby school St Joseph’s in attendance smaller groups were split down and taken through various coaching stations. Work was performed on defensive alignments, set piece, re-starts, rucking/mauling and 2 on 1 spacial attack. The session was rounded off with a ferocious game. Huge contacts were made by the teams but some wonderful lines were run irrespective of the incredibly limited space.  A great time was had by all with many requests from the students that such sessions could be repeated.

April 2007 – Trustees Arrive in Rwanda for Year Long Stay
Friends of Rwandan Rugby has taken its’ first official steps to establish a presence in youth groups, schools and Universities across Rwanda. The arrival of Emma Rees and Deena Aiken into the country will allow the charity to start funnelling materials and information into the developing rugby community.  Upon arrival they were able to receive 200 kilograms of equipment kindly donated by UK clubs and schools and set up a coaching program that will see sessions and workshops with key stakeholders continue throughout the duration of their stay.
17/01/2007 – Official Launch Party
The Sun, in Richmond, played proud host to the launch of Friends of Rwandan Rugby. An event attended by over 100 supporters was the reward for many months of hard work by founding members Emma Rees and David Barker to achieve UK charity status. The evening saw Rwandan dancers entertain the packed crowd where information was presented about the charities aims and valuable funds were raised to kick off the cause. A great thanks to all those that attended and the call to action was raised for interested parties to come out to Rwanda and help coach the children !!

Friends of Rwandan Rugby – 5th December 2010

FoRR would like to confirm that the charity is still up and running. 2010 saw us send our biggest tour group of volunteers to Rwanda yet, and we are funding 3 Rwandan members of staff.
In 2011 we hope to launch our Friends Strategy….watch this space!