The International Working Group on Women and Sports (IWG) in conjunction with Women and Sports Botswana (WASBO) have started a two-year mentorship programme.
With Botswana hosting the 7th IWG World Conference on Women and Sports which is scheduled to take place from May 17 to 20 2018, the programme is part of an effort by the two parties to build a lasting legacy for Botswana’s sportswomen beyond the said conference.
According to IWG representative Boitumelo Kenosi, under the programme, which kicked off last year, IWG and WASBO seek to “build a complete sportswoman”.
Speaking in an interview after a two-day Youth Leadership Camp workshop for the, Kenosi said their aim is to equip young sportswomen with critical social skills to survive in sports.
“Our primary beneficiaries in this project are young women with potential to grow in sport who are aged between 14 and 18 years,” Kenosi explained.
The IWG representative said as a priority, they are also targeting young women athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds who are more likely to be lost to sport due to the various challenges they face in life.
“Through this programme, we teach the woman/girl athlete various skills such as etiquette, financial literacy, media relations, advocacy and what it means to represent the country well, just to mention a few,” she explained.
“As part of this initiative, we will be conducting workshops and various mentorship programmes for our beneficiaries until 2018,” Kenosi continued.
As a way to ensure that the young women get all the professional advice necessary, the IWG representative said they had roped in experts in various fields to conduct the workshops.
Among them were representatives from Brand Botswana, financial institutions, the media as well as the beauty and fashion world and current national team athletes.
While only eight primary beneficiaries have been selected for the programme so far, Kenosi said their intention was to ensure that many local girl athletes are taken through the programme.
“This is just a pilot project leading to the 7th IWG World Conference on Women and Sports. However, our intention is that when the two-year period elapses, after the conference, we will then review and adapt it so that we can continue enrolling it,” said Kenosi.
On how the beneficiaries were chosen, the IWG representative said they collaborated with stakeholders like the Botswana Integrated Sports Associations (BISA), Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) who identified beneficiaries.
She, however, said from the original number of 10 possible beneficiaries, IWG then whittled down the number to eight as they did not have enough financial backing to enrol more.
Meanwhile, Kenosi has further explained that aside from their primary beneficiaries, they have also resolved to enrol some women national team players into the project.
The programme is financed by the Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFINet).