Thursday, July 18, 2024

WASBO to Host a Delegation from University of Tennessee

Women Sport Botswana (WASBO) in conjuction with Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Botswana University of Agriculture Natural Resources (BUAN) will host a 40 member students’ delegation from the American University of Tennessee.

The delegation is coming into the country as part of its leadership development program through their VO Leadership Academy. While in the country, the delegation will conduct a two-day program from 5th – the 6th July, 2024.

WASBO secretary general Keenese Katisenge-Tizhani says the initiative is meant to help fight challenges faced by student-athletes in Botswana. Some of the issues relate to training the girl child in sport, lack of academics and sport balance, relationships, puberty and menstruation.

“When we first interacted with VO Leadership Academy in January, we both agreed on an exchange program to help tackle these issues and also encourage leadership in our athletes.” 

“The VO Leaders Academy was developed to cultivate positive student-athlete leaders through sport to create positive social change.  By using their platform in sport, student-athletes admitted into the VO Leaders Academy learn how to be a positive force for their team, campus, and local and global communities. The program aims to inspire student-athletes to find ways to use their influence and passion for sport to enact change that transcends their athletic success,” Katisenge-Tizhani explained. 

The WASBO secretary general said as an organization mandated with ensuring the participation and safety of the girl child in sport, their biggest challenge has always centered around ‘retaining the girl child in sport.’ 

“This program is highly important for our student- athletes to share their experiences with the students from the University of Tennessee on a mentorship session. It will help them appreciate how the students from Tennessee are still able to excel in sport and academics.”

“We desire for our student- athletes to also learn how they can also be ambassadors and influencer outside sport and beyond sport but within the community using sport as a tool of social impact and social change,” she elaborated. 

Among others, local student athletes are expected to learn how to transition from being an athlete to a leader in sport, administration or as a coach. Katisenge-Tizhani said student-athletes should not sit and wait to retire from active sport and immediately run for elections without learning and being prepared for the transition. She added that transitioning from athletes to leaders is a journey that requires preparation, both mentally, physically, psychologically, competence wise and much more. 

“We are going to further explore opportunities, scholarships and exchange programs that are available for our athletes to go and learn further. We are also planning on leaving the students to lead the program while we learn from them as well. Our role will only be to offer guidance if needed. Sometimes it’s important for leaders to step back and just listen and learn from students exchanging knowledge and experience between themselves,” she added. 

Katisenge-Tizhani said the sessions will also include donation of equipment to different sporting codes. In total, they are expecting to host 150 people in total including Tennessee delegates and Botswana delegates from BUAN, BNSC, WASBO and Gaborone region (50 in number). 

“In terms of student- athletes who will take part in the program, we are looking at clubs, academies and associations who are aggressively active at grass roots level. But if any student- athlete is interested in being part of the sessions anywhere in Botswana we are open to host them as well,” she concluded. 

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