Shuttle Time Helps Counter Drug Abuse in Sierra Leone Communities

Shuttle Time Helps Counter Drug Abuse in Sierra Leone Communities

An innovative badminton project in Sierra Leone to combat drug abuse among children and young people received enthusiastic response and has led to promising initiatives such as a badminton academy.

The “Smash The Streets” project was conducted from 26 November to 17 December 2023 in Makeni, Lunsar and Western Area of Sierra Leone.

Two coaches from the Czech Republic, Veronika Brožkovcová and Lukáš Kroc, were invited by Association President Michael Shamsu Mustapha and were key drivers of the programme, which was supported by the endowment fund Future Dreams and badminton club Super Stars Most. Players from this club, together with the internet shop, donated equipment to the national team.

Initiating participants in the basics of badminton.

The two Czech coaches, along with Yusuf Bangura – Vice President of Badminton Sierra Leone – and the national coach visited local schools and presented AirBadminton; they also worked with national and club players. The Czech coaches were surprised by the children’s huge interest in badminton and believe that badminton can become one of the most popular sports in Sierra Leone. The collaboration between Sierra Leone Badminton Association and both coaches will continue.

Battling Drug Abuse

Communities that have been ravaged by drugs were selected for the implementation of the project. The team was able to organise events in these communities titled “Smash The Streets” to address this issue that is affecting children and youth in Sierra Leone. The team was also able to introduce the sport in at least 10 new schools in the identified towns. The project was particularly attractive to girls, and there are more girls (55 per cent) playing badminton in Sierra Leone schools and communities than boys (45 per cent). The team hopes to identify talented students and support them to continue their schooling through mentorship or financial support.

Schoolchildren enthusiastically took to AirBadminton.

Support from Government

The ministries of Education and Internal Affairs were contacted to get data of schools and communities with high reports of drugs and experiencing a reduction in the number of kids dropping out of schools due to drug abuse. The team also partnered the Ministry of Social Welfare which provided social workers to help in addressing participants.


The team reported a tremendous increase in interest of school kids and youth in the sport. Badminton is seen as a safe sport by girls which explained the high female turnout during the training sessions. Since June 2023 there has been a lot of local conflict and “Smash the Streets” was a way to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence in these communities.

The team hopes to get community and political leaders in these communities to participate in our future activities and use it as a platform to continue dialogue.

Coaches with the participants.

Launch of Academy

With the support from their Czech counterparts, the association secured land and have commenced the establishment of a badminton academy in Sierra Leone, which should be ready by the end of this year.  This academy will also host AirBadminton training camps for local athletes and others from the West African Region.

The Czech coaches reported that in cooperation with the Association, they introduced AirBadminton in schools and showed pupils and their teachers new possibilities in teaching physical education.

“We were very surprised by the huge interest. We have never seen such an interest in any other country. We also worked with club players and national team players. We were once again very pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm, commitment and positive attitude of players, coaches and officials. AirBadminton may be the sport in which Sierra Leone’s first international successes may come soon. Our stay during the Sierra Leone Badminton Development Programme helped us better understand the current situation and we are now working on a tailor-made development programme that we would like to share with the association leadership soon,” reported Kroc and Brožkovcová.