Before we get down to the business of introducing our final HP Project of 2018, a heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing supporters who have now taken the average pre-pledge closer to £120!!! Please keep pre-pledging using the button at the end of this post, and don't worry if you can only pledge a little - every single pledge makes a massive difference and we are sincerely grateful for each and every one!
As part of our HP Projects commitments in 2018, we're absolutely delighted to announce our final project of 2018 where we will be working in partnership with the 'Monrovia Football Academy' in Liberia. Similar to our other projects this year, Harper Performance has been tasked with developing the sports science, strength & conditioning, sports medicine and nutrition provisions available to the athletes of this groundbreaking and fast-growing academy.
Monrovia, and more widely Liberia, is more commonly associated with the recent outbreak of Ebola and before that, the hideous conflicts that have marred the region since the 1970's. The reality though is that Liberia is a country finally finding it's feet, releasing itself from the shackles of colonial rule and difficult transitions since, ready to lead itself into a new era of prosperity. The recent election of former-Arsenal player; George Weah as it's next president brings with it a renewed enthusiasm for Liberian sport and football in particular as a vehicle for social change, an enthusiasm that will not be lost on the amazing initiative that is the Monrovia Football Academy.
The Monrovia Football Academy is the first school in Liberia to combine high quality education with elite football development. The Academy provides Liberia's most talented youth with academic classes, football training, and life skills lessons to improve academic performance, break down gender barriers and prepare their students to lead positive change in Liberia.
The Academy's students are at the Academy from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, with breakfast, life-skills and football training in the morning, lunch at noon, and academic classes in the afternoon - a schedule that academy athletes in the UK will recognise!
Without MFA's domestic academy, talented footballers in Liberia are vulnerable to predatory agents offering development opportunities abroad. Culture Foot Solidaire, a French NGO, estimates that 15,000 West African footballers are illegally trafficked overseas every year, with many of them coming from Liberia. According to the BBC, players 'gratefully accept invitations' from shady agents who offer them false contracts, confiscate their passports and then abandon them in foreign countries.
Despite this issues, a number of Liberian footballers have played for professional clubs around the world including George Weah (now President-Elect), James Debbah and Christopher Wreh.
The Monrovia Football Academy provides Liberia's best young footballers with access to professional coaching at an accessible, domestic academy. Since opening in 2015, the Academy has developed a comprehensive football curriculum that disrupts bad habits, introduces fundamental techniques, and encourages the student-athletes to "think the game" at an elite level.
Harper Performance has been tasked with developing the off-field provisions for the athletes, including the athletic development, sports nutrition and sports medicine support available at the Academy. As with all our projects, our team of expert practitioners will be working in close collaboration with the coaches and personnel at the Academy to ensure that ownership over the programme remains Liberian. Our team will be assisting the Academy with filling skills gaps in the permanent team at the MFA and providing a long-term upskilling programme that maintains the culture of the MFA at its heart.
Harper Performance will be striving to support the Academy as they develop the 'MFA Way' in providing elite performance-support to their student-athletes and we're incredibly excited to be involved with such a noble and impactful project.
The upcoming 'KANJU Campaign' will be key to ensuring our support to the Monrovia Football Academy is as effective as possible, so if you like the sound of the work of the MFA and want to help us provide them with the performance-support they need to develop their athlete-support provisions, please don't stop talking about 'The KANJU Campaign'. We are always just one conversation, one email, one social media post from securing our next pre-pledge!
Thank you for all your support so far - it's been truly humbling - let's keep the momentum building ahead of the launch on February 22nd!
#TheKANJUCampaign #MonroviaFootballAcademy #Liberia
READY TO PRE-PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT TO THE CAMPAIGN?
Click the button below to find out all the details and make your pre-pledge (no credit/debit card required)