First Tables 4 ALL Test Course Unfolded in Côte d'Ivoire

Participants of the first Tables 4 ALL test course have built eight tables during their stay in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, between August 31 to September 7. The hand-crafted tables will be donated to local schools to breaking down barriers to access table tennis and equipment, as well as solidarity through the sport.

After more than a year of Covid-19, ITTF Foundation was finally travelling again. Thanks to our Ambassador Sarah Hanffou and her not-for-profit organisation Ping Sans Frontières, as well as the Table Tennis Federation of Côte d’Ivoire (FITT, Fédération Ivoirienne De Tennis De Table), we were able to put the Tables 4 ALL course to test. With the valuable feedback collected during this test course, we can optimise the project for a most fruitful experience for all participants of this course; Tables 4 ALL, everywhere!

Sustainability is the way

One of the major obstacles to table tennis practise is the lack of material available, and the difficulty to acquire tables for local organisations. Tables 4 ALL emerges as one of the solutions that brings sustainability to field projects, ITTF Member Associations, clubs, and individuals by passing on the knowledge of producing table tennis tables locally and potentially even generate own income in an ecological way.

We are pleased to have hosted the first Tables 4 ALL test course. This training was innovative and dynamic, as it allowed the participants to learn how to build table tennis tables from scratch. The eight tables we made during the test course will be distributed to local schools. We are going to continue the production as our objective is to provide table tennis tables to all major cities in Côte d'Ivoire. There is no doubt that this project will help us develop table tennis in the country. Thank you ITTF Foundation and the international solidarity association Ping Sans Frontières for this perfect collaboration. – Ali Kanaté, Vice President in charge of External Relations, FITT.

One of the fundamental needs but also for many developing Member Associations, one of the major obstacles to table tennis development is the limited access and/or lack of table tennis equipment. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but I believe the Tables 4 ALL project can noticeably contribute to increased participation and involvement in table tennis in especially developing Member Associations by providing an opportunity to introduce table tennis e.g. in communities or schools, like in the case of Cote d’Ivoire but not limited to. This said, make the table tennis more accessible, universal, inclusive and popular which is very much in line with ITTF motto: TABLE TENNIS. FOR ALL. FOR LIFE. – Katarzyna Kubas, ITTF High Performance & Development

More than a table building course

Much like table tennis, Tables 4 ALL focuses on the accessibility and inclusiveness of our favourite sport offering solutions where they are needed.

Attending the table building course was a great pleasure because it is very difficult for the children here to access table tennis training and how much it means to have the tables built like this. This is something that I can pass on to my students step by step.
I have discovered a lot and I hope to have more experiences myself and to use this way, because the inhabitants need it and we need it and we can play by ourselves. – Carole L. participant of test course, Physical Education teacher.

It was a new challenge for us all. Besides the carpenters, many participants had none to some experience in working with tools and wood. More than learning how to build a table together, they were also learning to trust and empower one another in the course: An inner triumph for me was watching the evolvement of the general group dynamic but also of every participant, especially the women were gaining more self-confidence and acceptance. – Julia Tappendorf, ITTF Foundation Global Programmes and Operations Coordinator.

With a range of tables available in the current Tables 4 ALL manual, participants of various level of experience in building and carpentry can be sure to find one that best suits them. For those who have no prior experience, building a table tennis table from scratch can be an opportunity to not only gain technical skills, but personal skills as well.

We as humankind are social beings. We do fine being alone, but we gain more when we stand united. Even for the smallest task as building a table, you would be amazed at how the work can be done so quickly and perfectly when we work together and help each other out. – Sarah Hanffou, ITTF Foundation Ambassador and the President of Ping Sans Frontières.

The first test course might have ended, but the project Tables 4 ALL has just begun. With the valuable insight and feedback our team has collected in Côte d'Ivoire, we will optimise the manual and course to provide future participants with better instructions in creating a table tennis table of their own.

We cannot deploy straight away, but now is the time for us to refine the future implementation of the project together with ITTF High Performance & Development, which includes shaping the train the trainers and the preparation of the second test course, thereby generating the best possible impact for social change for our field projects and the ITTF Member Associations. – Karine Teow, ITTF Foundation Head of Programmes.



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