As the year 2011 draws to a close, we reflect on your kindness and generosity to us as we have weaved a path towards the transformation of the sport sector.
Although there is a long way to go, we close 2011 with confidence and satisfaction as we have been better able to deliver our work and cooperate with more partners and serve our stakeholders in a different way.
This year, our main campaign was centered on addressing gender based violence, and our campaigning has driven us from the UN CSW in New York, to engaging the global sport and development community at the ‘Next Step 2011’ in Trinidad and Women in sport in Southern Africa; we have dialogued with sports leaders, traditional leaders and youth peer leaders as well.
In the last year, we brought to the table Government Ministries, Sport Civil Society, Media Players and Sport Persons to face the challenge on gender based violence with a special focus on harassment and abuse of girls and women.
Our focus and strategy has been simple: We engaged girls and women to activate their capacity to claim their rights to sport and we influence the duty bearers to deliver sport related rights for women. The biggest challenge of course is to make transformative change in gender relations as opposed to merely gaining sex ratios.
Understandably, the amount of work to be done, may overshadow the gains we have made over the last year; the issues bearing down not only on us, but on the entire women’s rights and human rights movement that we will face in the coming year include concerns about the global and local economy, the domestication and implementation of human rights provisions and the resource commitment to back up state political will articulated in policy.
The first phase of our flagship program ‘Every Body Matters’ has come to an end this year after four years, but as Burough said ‘I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep’ so we will be launching the second phase for 2012 – 2015 early next year.
The New Year will usher in a kaleidoscope of opportunities and challenges as well, but our direction is clear and we know what we must do. Our responsibility is to remain focused on our mandate: engaging duty bearers, speaking on behalf of the girls and women in sport, keeping ourselves capable, re-enforcing our brand, and holding up our part of the gender equality front.
We are certain that our long term value will soon be evident in the changes that will continue to happen and become more apparent as we keep the gender issue on the agenda.
I commend your hard work, encouragement, support and critical thoughts and questions; because you are aware of our potential and our vision your confidence in us has not wavered, for this we are grateful.
The year 2012 is special to us as we will celebrate five years of programming; we look forward to this and are excited about the direction we are taking for the next five years to come.
I wish you many blessings during this festive season and I look forward to journeying with you through 2012.
Matilda K. Mwaba
Founder and Executive Director