PlayitDreamitTuesday: Cricket as a tool for sport development
FAME foundation in line with our vision seeks to work towards impacting the lives of vulnerable young girls. We also aim to enlighten the society on their responsibilities towards making sure that a girl-child must be given the opportunity to dream and have a hope for a better future. Hence, our decision to launch a social media campaign on sports and development.
PlayitDreamit is an initiative of FAME foundation that uses sport as a tool to achieve SDGs 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10. It’s a social media campaign on using sport as a tool to push for gender-equality by educating the girl child, reducing child marriage and increasing female participation in sports while boosting their general well-being and health.
This campaign kick-started three weeks ago with Anna Mambula introducing PlayitDreamit Initiative, stating that “Everybody speaks Sport. It’s a unifying language that individuals regardless of religion, culture and tribe understands.” Mrs. Aderonke Bello, the week after discussing the need to use sport for development. She stated that “Sports as a universal language is an effective and sustainable tool that could be geared towards social change and cohesion”.
On this week’s edition, we have Oluwatoni Fawole moderating the program, and Mrs. Ijeoma Okigbo, founder of Girls Aspire as our guest. Girls Aspire is an NGO that focuses on using sport to drive gender-equality and change. Also, aim in the promotion of girls participating in sport.
HOW DO YOU USE SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT?
We feel that sport is a huge tool in terms of bringing about positive change in the lives of people. The world knows this and is using sports to maneuver issues of racism, political inclination, societal status and all. The girls, at this part of the world, haven’t gotten a fair share of ‘the goodness in sports’. So, we are bringing sports to the girls to help them improve personally, mentally, physically and provides a capacity that could lead them to careers in sports.
WHY USE CRICKET AS A TOOL FOR SPORT DEVELOPMENT?
Cricket is also a team sport which builds unity, leadership skills, team work, develop self-esteem and more.
WHAT CAN CRICKET DO TO SUPPORT FOR GENDER EQUALITY?
The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) is doing a lot with the issue of Gender Equality in cricket. They are trying to develop the sport on equal basis at the grass root level, as well as organizing competitions, capacity building for its officials and players. All at the same pace.
In a webinar organised by @girls_aspire on the development of female cricket in Africa, the NCF president, Prof. Yahaya Ukwenya said the federation was going all out for a 50/50 distribution of resources for male and female in cricket.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE FUTURE OF WOMEN AND GIRL’S INVOLVEMENT IN NIGERIA?
I foresee a huge rise in female fan base, active participation in sports and a time where people would ‘be at home’ with gifting female little kids a ball and not compulsorily a doll.With the kind of advocacy that is ongoing with regards to female participation in sports, I think the future is exciting. This is the best time for this discourse. When we get to this stage, we can say we’ve beat the pass mark. For us to achieve this, it has to be a conscious effort by everyone.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED USING CRICKET TO INVOLVE GIRLS IN SPORT?
Some of the challenges experienced has been from the parents/guardians of the girls. Their mindset is that sports is not feminine or would make their girls look masculine (develop unnecessary muscles etc). Some proprietors of schools even share similar thoughts as the parents.
Another challenge is lack of equipment’s and proper kits for the girls as well getting the right partnership and sponsorship to carry out our activities.
Also, since Girls Aspire is involved with girls in the grass root and in school, the bureaucracy involved with getting permission from the schools to carry out some activities with their students is also an issue.
WHAT ARE SOME PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATION ON HOW GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE ORGANIZATION, AND INDIVIDUALS CAN PROMOTE SPORT AND DEVELOPMENT?
This is what the Sports Minister Sunday Dare is doing with the ‘adopt an athlete’ campaign- where individuals and cooperate bodies would assist athletes in achieving their dreams.The Federations should promote and project their sport that it becomes appealing to sponsors. This has to be a conscious and deliberate act and we have to keep pushing it.
Also, the federations need to do more in terms of awareness or reach of their sports. Sponsors wants to put their money where they see traffic and at the moment female participation in sport is not an attractive industry from an economic point of view.
Cooperate organizations can get involved with sports as a form of Cooperate Social Responsibility, like what PwC Nigeria did with cricket_nigeria by sponsoring the National Under 17 Cricket tournament last year.
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