In 2012 the National Organization for Women in Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR) will be commemorating 5 years of implementing its programs to advance the rights of women to and through sport. The commemoration activities are aimed at sharing with all members, partners and friends of the organization the work that NOWSPAR has been doing, how our organisation has developed and where we are taking our work in the near future. It is a celebration of women in sport and their efforts to stand for themselves and claim their rights to sport and physical activity.
The National Organisation For Women in Sport Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR) is a non-governmental membership organization that works to promote the equitable engagement of women in sport, physical activity and recreation in Zambia. NOWSPAR works with government, schools, sports clubs, national sports associations and non-governmental organizations. NOWSPAR implements advocacy, capacity development, education, networking and research programmes. We support our Chapters and member institutions to implement programmes of diverse range from coaches training to participation in recreation tournaments and research activities. At present there are 10 chapters in 5 provinces of Zambia, and many national level projects and programs in progress. The theme of the celebration is: ‘NOWSPAR 5 Years of Advancing Women’s Rights to Sport’
This celebration will be an opportunity to commemorate a mile stone in the development of our organisation, at a time when the women’s movement in Zambia was moving at full speed, there was a gap, no one was addressing gender equality issues in sport. So we mobilised ourselves to meet this need and we have since developed into an organisation that is focused on this mandate.
This milestone is important for us to share with the public and our stakeholder the progress we are making in addressing various gender issues in sport and to give them an opportunity to engage with us about our plans and our organization. This event is also important to us as we will be providing an opportunity for initiation of partnerships with more stakeholders, both corporate and civil society to invest in the work we are doing.
Some of the key achievements we have scored over the last five years include:
- Of course the establishment of our organisation, the only NGO dedicated solely to addressing gender equality issues in sport
- We have raised the profile of women in sport issues to government, through our lobbying and campaign work, this has facilitated increased awareness of the needs and gaps that government should address
- We have initiated and facilitated a platform for multi- policy engagement regarding women and sport, bringing together related government departments as well as the sport community to debate and strategized around sport and women’s issues
- Our advocacy has further resulted in the allocation of land for sport and recreation in three rural communities by traditional leaders
- We have worked with communities in 5 provinces to support their development of sport clubs and initiatives to incorporate sport that is accessible to women
- We have established a relationship with the media community to cooperate on addressing the challenge of low media coverage of women in sport
- We have mobilised and worked with the local and international sport and development community to develop policies to address harassment and abuse in sport
Our work has over the last five years been diverse, from providing a ball to a group of girls setting up a netball team, to supporting professional athletes to compete in international competitions. We have supported sport organisations to review their policies; we have contributed to government policy and legislation on sport. We are mentoring girls and women in sport and proving advocacy training to youth sport leaders in the aim of creating a critical mass of women in sport that are empowered and speak for themselves.
We are sitting on the International Working Group for Women, We are on the advisory Board of the International Kicking AIDS Out Network and hold the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Sport for Social Change Network in Southern Africa.
Our campaign work has stretched from the sports fields where community coaches work to palaces of traditional leaders. We have reached government officers and the parliament to the SADC region forums. We have even crossed the oceans to make our voice heard by the Commonwealth and the United Nations. All this because we believe Every Body Matters and that women have a right to sport which must be secured as part of the broader gender, human rights and development agenda.
We have been able to do all this with support fo our government through the ministry of education, and sport, the Nowergian Olympic Committee, Women Win, the German Embassy and several corporate organisations in Zambia and beyond.
Of greatest significance is the cadre of volunteers who hold up the roof of our organisation, the students, researchers in Zambia and beyond and the members of our talent bank. We further recognise the other women in sport organisation around the world who started before us, their inspiration and open sharing has been helpful.
The work is far from done, so we remain a critical player in the sport for development community and broader civil society. We still have to face the challenge of harassment and abuse of women in sport, we still have to continue tackling the limited leadership space for women, the narrow coverage by media as well as the low resources that reach women.
We have to work hard to maintain the relationships we have established, to build on the gains we have made and to strengthen the stakeholder bonds locally and at international level.
To those who didn’t believe in us, we say ‘look we did it anyway’ to those who believed in us, we say thank you and to those we have served we say ‘you are welcome’.
We invite you to join us in this celebration:
We are holding a public exhibition on Saturday 26th May at Arcades Mall from 9:00am to 15:00hrs. We have a photo exhibition, sport demonstrations and lots of information being presented in various visual and audio methods. This will be an open and free event, to show everybody what NOWSPAR is and what they are working on.
We are also producing commemorative magazine with lots of content about our work and the stakeholders we work with.
We invite you to advertise in this space. Further we will hold a reception in the evening to celebrate our stakeholders.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to your continued support.