The Women Leadership Programme was yesterday launched by Government in partnership with the African Union Sports Council Region 5 (AUSC Region 5) to address the marginalisation of women from leadership of sport and decision-making positions.
The 10-year training programme approved by the Council Ministers of the AUSC Region 5 is targeting to produce 200 astute women leaders by the year 2028, at a rate of 20 women per year.
This is in line with the National Development Strategy 1, which seeks to develop an integrated sport management system through human capital development and skills training.
NDS 1 notes that despite considerable efforts made to uplift women, they still face hurdles in respect of opportunities to ascend to commanding heights in the national economy, including: access to finance, access to land and freehold property, access to opportunities to influence policy as well as legal, cultural and patriarchal barriers.
Officially launching the programme, Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation acting Minister Kazembe Kazembe said Women Leadership Programme provides a refreshing opportunity to empower women to take the driving seat in sports leadership and not just be content with being supporting staff and cheerleaders.
"It gives me immense delight to finally see the Women Leadership Programme come alive.
"The WLP provides avenues for confidence building and knowledge advancement through a tailor-made mentorship and coaching programme that upholds the dignity of women and unpacks the invaluable latent potential that for years has been dormant, and in some instances, ignored.
"The eight-month mentorship programme is set to propel women onto the leadership pedestal and recognise them as champions of a sound decision making and gender sensitive sports transformation trajectory while proffering a support base of other established women and men mentors willing to be champions of this women leadership empowerment and emancipation cause," he said.
Minister Kazembe said Government had seen it fit to embark on the Women Leadership Programme in partnership with the AUSC Region 5 in response to the perpetual issue of marginalisation of women from leadership of sport and decision-making positions.
"I wish to challenge the participants of this programme therefore to buckle up, be ready for this exciting journey and to renew your resolve in changing lives in this country.
"I wish to appreciate the support and partnership of the Region with TAFISA which has seen us collaborate in hosting this very important workshop.
"It is our hope that such alliances will grow stronger and that we will be able to explore other avenues and funding streams to channel more resources into the sustenance of this programme at country level.
"The long journey of supporting women leadership capacity building starts now and let us all embrace this opportunity with gladness and determination," he said.