Future Leaders in Grassroots Sport Aim to Break the Bias

ICSSPE Celebrates International Women’s Day
08/03/2022 13:31
International Women's Day on Tuesday, 8 March 2022 is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality and for creating a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. 
Committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal #5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE) is collaborating with several of its members in and supporting global projects with the goal to promote gender equality in and through sport. 
“Empowering Future Leaders in International Grassroots Sport” is one of the projects that is currently underway with the aim to design and develop a toolkit, which will help young leaders, especially girls and women, as well as persons with a disability, to plan and implement grassroots sport events in their communities. Future leaders from Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Germany are taking part in the project.  
“Empowering and inspiring other women in sport to do their best for the next generation and to break the barrier,” is a key motivation for Albertina Talonheni Mbalili to take part in the project. 
By acquiring new skillsets, and handing them on to others in form of a tool kit, the school teacher and gymnastics coach from Namibia hopes to “get the community involved and to lift people from within to stay away from peer influence and pressure”. In her eyes, sport is all about socialisation and can thus have a lasting impact on society.
Leepile Motlhaolwa, PhD student at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, agrees by seeing grassroots sport as more than participation and more than just play. “It is an essence of community, civil society and other role players coming together to create opportunities for social interaction, physical activity and experiences for fun, enjoyment and recreation.” 
Fellow South African Bronwyn Sumption also believes in the unifying power of sport that can also aid in addressing and breaking the bias. 
“Grassroots sports, especially if implemented with women and girls taken into consideration, can provide fair and equal access to opportunities and allow these individuals to feel included rather than just an ‘add on’. The unifying power of ‘sport’ is a powerful tool that can aid in addressing breaking the bias across all local, national and global levels,” she says.  
Bronwyn is a Post-Doc Fellow at the University of Johannesburg and has been involved in numerous sport and recreation activities from a community and grassroot level up to a competitive-elite level. She has a keen interest in “community driven activities in an institutionalised setting that is accessible to all”. Her special focus are “marginalised groups within a context of poverty” and she brings a lot of practical thinking and understanding of what the reality is of grassroot sports in impoverished communities to the group. 
Bronwyn will also present at the 8th International Working Group (IWG) on Women in Sport Conference in New Zealand in 2022 with the topic “Factors influencing active participation for girls and women in structured physical activity and sport in a context of poverty.”
Mwaka Musyani from Zambia also sees the big picture and a real benefit in grassroots sport, which has a “social impact on the community as it helps people to lead healthier lives, to develop new skills for employment and to engage with their local communities.” 
Mwaka is a primary school teacher and project assistant at Zambia’s National Organisation for Women in Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR), which believes that sport, physical activity and recreation have the power to foster social change and increase an individual’s quality of life. NOWSPAR, an ICSSPE member, advocates, educates, and increases participation of women and girls in sport. NOWSPAR’s Chairperson Katongo Bwalya Moonga is a member of the ICSSPE Executive Board and one of the facilitators of this project. 
ICSSPE members have been guiding the participants through the workshop series, with all of the facilitators leading women in sport in their own right. Annette Hofmann, Jackie Lauff, Valereis Geldenhuys, Cora Burnett, Anneliese Goslin and Katongo Bwalya, have been sharing their knowledge with the group. 
After working through a series of six online workshops, covering the topics leadership and empowerment, networking, equality and inclusion, governance and management, sponsorship and fundraising; as well as sustainability, monitoring, evaluation and learning, the next step will be the collation of the toolkit. 
The project, which has been running online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is funded by the UNESCO Participation Programme and includes ten participants from four countries (Germany, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia). The project is set to wrap up at the end of March. 
Project Facilitators
Annette Hofmann (Germany) - ICSSPE vice-president, Professor of Sport Studies at Ludwigsburg University of Education and Vice-President of the German Gymnastics Federation
Jackie Lauff (Australia), CEO and co-founder Sport Matters 
Valereis Geldenhuys (Namibia) – former President Namibian Gymnastics Federation and Biology and Physical Education Teacher, Commonwealth Gymnastics Confederation Executive and FIG Gender Equality Commission Member 
Cora Burnett (South Africa), Professor at the University of Johannesburg, Director UJ Olympic Studies Centre
Anneliese Goslin (South Africa), Emeritus Professor in Sport Management at the University of Pretoria, South Africa
Katongo Bwalya Moonga (Zambia), Executive Director National Organisation for Women in Sport Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR), ICSSPE Executive Board Member, Physical Education and Sport lecturer at the University of Zambia.