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Support a Second Team initiative lives on through East Lothian/Rwanda partnership

Ed Hendrikson, East Lothian Council

Support a Second Team was a programme of opportunities for local authorities across Scotland to make links with Commonwealth nations and territories whose teams were competing at the Glasgow 2014 Games.

The programme provided an opportunity, as part of the wider Games Legacy, for creating partnerships with nations and territories participating in the Commonwealth Games and support to them through their journey to the Games and beyond.
Through the Support a Second Team initiative, East Lothian has been linked with Rwanda. This builds on a number of pre-existing links between the authority and Rwanda. East Lothian Council were delighted to host representatives from the Rwandan Commonwealth Games Team for a pre-games training camp in July 2014. The visit was a catalyst for agreeing an ongoing partnership.
The connection through the Support a Second Team programme proved successful and a Minute of Agreement was developed between East Lothian Council and Rwanda, to further develop their relationship linked to some key principles of cooperation and support. This Minute Of Understanding was signed by the High Commissioner of Rwanda for the United Kingdom and the Leader of East Lothian Council.

To bring the signed Minute Of Agreement to life a delegation from East Lothian Council along with their partners at sportscotland visited Rwanda during March 2015.
The culmination of the work captured from the many discussions and visits whilst in Rwanda, was to draft an action plan to sit under the Minute of Agreement that would highlight the range of actions and opportunities that would enable the principles in the Minute Of Agreement between both partners to become a reality moving forward.
One of the key themes identified in the partnership is hosting of athletes in a performance environment. East Lothian Council are delighted to announce that the Rwanda National Football team will be training and staying in East Lothian between 2nd and 16th August. The team will play friendly matches and train on a daily basis at Meadowmill Sports Centre. The visit has been planned in conjunction with the Scottish Football Association and a range of other local partners including the Rwanda Scotland Alliance. The Rwanda national football team were founded in 1972 and have recently appointed 29 year old Northern Irishman Johnny McKinstry as their head coach. The team are currently 78th in the FIFA World rankings.
At East Lothian Council we are delighted to support the ongoing partnership with the Rwanda National Olympic and Sport Committee following the extremely successful pre – Commonwealth  Games training camp in July 2014. There is a great opportunity for both parties to work together to share resources, grow people and build capacity. Rwanda is an amazing place and the opportunities for people to participate and excel in Sport are very evident. Rwanda has an opportunity to develop strong sporting structures and pathways and East Lothian can play a major part in supporting this. This is an exciting new partnership and we look forward to working with the Rwanda National Olympic Committee going forward.