The Basketball Artists School (BAS) Foundation is non-profit organisation that focuses on youth development, mainly in academics and life skills aspects using sports as a tool lure them in the program, the sport we use is basketball hence the name Basketball Artists School. Our motto is “Education First- Basketball Second”, we make sure that we live by that each day. the program is for less-privileged youth who are school going kids mostly from the Katutura area in Windhoek. We aim to give an opportunity to those who seem not to have and make sure we are in line with the Harambee prosperity plan of Namibia, that no one is left behind.
BAS Foundation operates out of Katutura as its offices and Basketball courts and stationary facilities are all located at the multi-purpose sports complex in Windhoek/Katutura. It has over the years developed into a fully-fledged independently operating entity and is widely praised as one of the most solidly operating organisations in the country with a clear focus on:
a) Assist children and young people in their school education and general knowledge.
b) Promote a healthy lifestyle through life skills.
c) Reach out to young community members enhancing their appreciation of their lives through sports activities with the focus on basketball.
“BAS Foundation envisages communities where less-privileged children and youth are empowered, responsible and successful.”
“Through our Centre of Excellence we lead the way in instilling moral values in all children and youth towards being outstanding role-models and leaders for their peers by providing education, life skills and sports.”
BAS was founded in February 2010 in Windhoek as collaboration between the Namibian Basketball Federation (NBF) and the German non-profit organisation ISIBINDI (Freiburg/Germany). It was also part of the “Memorandum of Understanding for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Basketball” between the Namibian Ministry of Sport, Youth, and National Service and the German Federal Foreign Office (October 2009 to September 2013).
Since January 2015, BAS is supported directly by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the project “Free Throw – Basketball Artists against HIV & AIDS”. Since January 2017, BAS is a Namibian Trust called “BAS Foundation” and was released into independence by ISIBINDI.
BAS is situated in the Katutura Sports Complex.
Every problem in the world whether Africa or Europe has a root, and most social problems start to develop from early stages of life, the youth are the most affected and this leads to them as adults doing things that will also affect their children.
The common problems in Namibia are poverty, teenage pregnancy, school drop outs, use of drugs and alcohol, HIV and AIDS infections and violence. All these problems are usually linked to environments they come from, an environment is a place where human beings learn their education, values of life and live a life according to what they see and hear which later becomes part of their lives. Environments play a big role in young people’s developing stages of life. In Namibia it is estimated that 50% of grade 10 and 12 learners fail, also that in public primary schools you will find that 30% of grade 7 learners can’t read or write. Too many social issues in a country can cripple an economy if not dealt with on time.
In Katutura alone, more than half of Windhoek population are resident there, as time passes by the area continues to expand with illegal shacks. The highest percentage of drug and alcohol use, teenage pregnancy, single parents, school dropouts, violence, HIV and AIDS infections and poverty are in Katutura.
Most people don’t realise this as most think it doesn’t affect them, in the next 50 to 100 years, the people who will run the country are the youth of today, so it might not affect us directly but it will affect our children’s children in the coming future. If a countries objective is to have a sustainable economy then we must focus all our energy on ensuring that the youth are brought up in the right way with basic skills and moral values.
There are not so many youth development platforms in Namibia that teaches moral values, schools are focused on academic education but we all know that children’s development is more than just education, values and moral skills are very crucial but not so many schools and institutions offer such skills. You will find that the great leaders in any sector did not get their through just academic accolades, but by moral skills they learnt while growing up which became a part of them either through sports, club society or extra school activities.
The mistake that many organisations, donors or institution do is provide the things that the youth lack, which solves the problem at that moment but once the support stops the problems remain and even get bigger, it’s a metaphorical concept of catching fish for people to eat each day, the day you stop to catch fish the people starve, not so many institutions teach the people how to catch fish so when the person goes they community still eats fish because they learnt how to catch it. We are facing serious problems amongst the youth which has to be dealt with urgently.
At BAS Foundation we strongly believe that to change the world you need to change yourself first then after, one person at a time. It won’t help to have money and kids in your program and have bad role models, so it starts by having the right people to run a project which we believe we have done successfully, people who have moral values and understand children’s development stages and different environments. The best time to learn basics in academic or life matters are during the ages of 7 and 12 years old.
From the age of 7 till around 19 years old, the child will be mostly in school during that time. From our findings we noticed that many public schools in Windhoek don’t offer much afternoon activities, if they do, it’s usually extra classes which kids mostly skip. Studies also show that young people have an urge to learn and try new things, if they are not offered activities to do, they’ll find their own activities to engage with. Most of the social issues usually start to show when the kids are in secondary school but develop at primary level. 90% of young people without even offered will play a sport, it is shown that the youth have more fun playing sports than actually being in school, Clinical studies also show that sports and recreation programs can help youth establish lifelong, healthy, physical activity patterns. Regular physical activity can ward off life-threatening diseases; reduce feelings of depression and anxiety; help control weight and obesity; and build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Most young people learn valuable lessons of life through sports and many people don’t know about this fact.
What BAS Foundation does is to be that institution that offers after school activities that keep the young people away from bad activities they would usually engage with. Therefore, we use sports as tool to attract the young learners to be part of the program but our main goal is to educate them in academics and life skill basics, we focus on basic of Math and English as these are the most essential needs of any human being, then through coaching basketball we teach them our core values. Even if they don’t become good basketball players we want to make sure they become good people who can become good role models in the bad environment they come from and later teach others of what they learnt. We make sure that our first intakes are between the ages of 10 and 12 years old so that we instill good basics in their lives, it’s very difficult to change a young person who is the age of 14 or 15 years old as they have already developed bad habits which might be difficult to remove but it can be possible with a few.
We at BAS Foundation believe that training our young people to first have basics in life and academics then make them into young leaders is the way to go about solving many if not all social issues in Namibia, if a 100 years was given to BAS foundation and all resources, the right man power were available, we guarantee that Namibia’s economy will be the best in Africa. Believe it or not, the method of development through sports if done in the right way will definitely produce better young people even in Katutura, which is why our project is focused in this area to prove a point and show that if it can work in the worst place in a city, it can work anywhere else.