Be The Change: Letter to the African woman in sport

African woman in sport

Dear African woman in sport, it’s that time of the year again where we gather to deliberate on the things that matter to the sector we belong to.

This year, the Africa Women’s Sports Summit is making a return. On July 27 at the Accra International Conference Centre, we are coming together to proffer solutions and contribute to the wider subject of leadership in the sports scene in Africa.

I am particularly excited about the growth of the summit in only three years. Three years ago, we set out to present a platform for mentorship, training and greater female inclusion in the African sports scene. In 2019, when we started this, it was to build a community where African women in sports can tap into enabling opportunities to grow their personal and career goals.

The way we see it, we have an event that is an enabler of initiatives that spur African women in sports to attain any height they want to. Of course, this will mean bringing them closer and exposing them to these opportunities and what is possible. We are building this for the African woman who is actively contributing to or engaged in sports at any level.

African woman in sport

The maiden edition featured over 600 participants from around the world under the theme: ‘Take Your Place’. It was a groundbreaking event that empowered young female sports journalists to lead and impact their communities.

Our speakers, including Carol Tshabalala of SuperSport; Ugandan Sports Journalist Usher Komugisha; Nana Aba Anamoah of GHOne TV; and the well-respected Lucy Quist of Morgan Stanley, all took turns to highlight the gains made by African women in sports, and offered a clear path to rising and excelling in the field.

Three years on, the testimonies are endless. Till date, we keep getting them from people who have been directly impacted. We are happy to note that more young women say to us that they decided to ‘Take their Place’ in Sports Journalism after the event. This is what we set out to achieve, and I am glad that it goes to the credit of the summit where we are able to be the reason why an African woman somewhere didn’t give up on their dream.

Since 2019:

  • We have mentored over 5000 young and established African women in sports through our Special Speaker Sessions and Bootcamp, one of which was led by the Secretary-General of FIFA, Madam Fatma Samoura, in 2020.
  • We have provided sporting equipment to the Assamensudu Bayern Munich lower tier football club in the Western Region of Ghana, owned and coached by Madam Patience Aggrey. This is a woman who has, for two decades, been developing talents on her own with little or no support. Through the summit, we were able to get them some support.
  • We have also aided over a dozen African women in sports through referral opportunities with partner organisations.

In the coming years, we hope to institute an online school dedicated to various areas of interest (from sports leadership, business, sports medicine, journalism, etc.). We also look forward to starting an internship placement drive. The goal is to get a decent number of African women in sports employment-ready every year. We hope to achieve this with our partner organisations.

We are excited about this year’s event. We can’t wait to meet all the amazing African women in sports. The interest has been massive, and we hope to crown it all on the day with a good event. We are hoping that this will add to the already impressive editions we have had over the past three years. We settled on Sports Leadership in Africa and Building Stronger Institutions because it’s just about the right time.

In the last few years, we have complained about the level of leadership in the sports scene in Africa. It is obvious there is a yearning for one that truly works and gets things done. Now, more than before, it has become important to focus energies on ensuring that Africa’s sports institutions are built on leadership that inspires. With this year’s event, we are looking at proffering solutions that contribute to achieving this at all levels across the continent.

Our ‘Be the Change’ theme is a clarion call to all stakeholders to be positive and progressive change agents in their respective fields to achieve the results we collectively desire.

The change starts with us, and we must be active partakers.

Our speakers are some of the very best within the continent. We have a proven record of assembling the finest brains for every edition, and we are happy to welcome Barbara Gonzalez of Simba Sports Club in Tanzania. Barbara is a role model for most African women in sports who want to go into full-time administration.

It is evident what she has done with Simba. Amazing stuff. Also joining is the ever-bubbly Thato Moeng of SuperSport. We are seeking perspectives from Thato on what she has seen so far as sports leadership in the continent is concerned. For someone who spends every day tracking sports leadership issues in Africa as a sports journalist, she definitely has a lot to share with the participants.

We are also glad to be joined by the much respected Naa Odofoley Nortey, private legal practitioner and CAF Match Commissioner. Naa needs no introduction. She has been there and done that. She offers so much hope and inspiration to young African women, particularly those who want to still keep their 9-5 jobs while actively involved in sports.

We are also excited to be having H.E Hajia Samira Bawumia, Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana. H.E Hajia Samira Bawumia is a known enabler of women’s empowerment through her special initiative, the ‘Samira Empowerment & Humanitarian Projects (SEHP)’. Her acceptance to be special guest for the 2022 Africa Women’s Sports Summit only reaffirms her passion.

We have huge dreams for the Africa Women’s Sports Summit. We want to be able to go round the continent with this initiative. Accra will always be the traditional home, but there is enough reason to rotate it every other year just so we are able to take it closer to the people wherever they are on the continent.

It is important that every African woman in sport living everywhere gets to experience for themselves the full benefits of being in the midst of like-minded people who share similar beliefs. We are hopeful that beyond this year, that is achievable. The event itself is expected to grow into a week-long festival and that excites us.

I want to thank all who continue to support this initiative from the media to our donors and sponsors all the way from year 1, as well as our speakers, facilitators and vendors. We are building something beautiful.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 is the date. Let’s come together to ‘Be the Change’ we want to see. It’s time.

>>>the writer is Founder of the Africa Women’s Sports Summit, a mentorship and training platform that seeks to foster greater female inclusion in the African sports scene


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