Netball South Africa and People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) have joined hands in a country-wide bid to fight gender based violence.
Both the ministers of Sport and Women, Children and People endorsed the partnership and called on all sports organisations to follow suit.
The exciting new partnership between Netball SA (netball-sa.co.za) and POWA (powa.co.za) will see the two organisation roll out a comprehensive programme of empowerment and gender-based violence awareness to Netball SA’s more than two million participants across the country.
According to Powa, 1400 women die at the hands of their partners every year and statistics indicate that reported incidents of violence against women continues to climb.
Netball SA CEO Blanche de la Guerre said it was an exciting time for the sport, which was growing both on and off the court.
“This partnership will add a new dimension to all NSA activities in helping women and girls to learn about the dangers of abuse and the ability to stand together and speak out against it. We all know the importance of physical activity for growth and development of young girls but we believe in holistic development. Therefore we aim to raise strong confident young women who can forge their way in modern society,” said Netball SA CEO Blanche de la Guerre.
Powa executive director Nhlanhla Mokwena said teaming up with the largest mass participation women’s sport in the country was an opportunity not to be missed.
“For both organisations we realise that we don’t want to be women on the margins we want to be in the big leagues because that is where the men are. We want to honour our “sheroes” who play netball are at every school so that the young ones can see what we are doing. This is a call to action for all of us.”
African Netball Championship winner SPAR Proteas national team coach Elize Kotze endorsed the campaign saying it was a valuable undertaking that she would encourage all national team players to become ambassadors to.
“This is the most fantastic opportunity to make a difference in our country. The biggest message we should get to is getting to the young girls that we are not the weaker gender. You are born in this country to have voice and I will make sure that our teams will be representing POWA with the same passion as which they represent our beautiful country,” said Kotze.
“We must fight gender stereotypes in all its forms. We must fight patriarchy. In intervening in women’s empowerment you are breaking the cycle of poverty so this partnership will add value in the longer term. We must take this to the communities and ensure that this reaches the people where it is most needed. To me this is a great initiative if it is sustaien. We must also get the big brands such as football and rugby to engage in similar campaigns,” said Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Minister for Women Children and People with disabilities Lulu Xingwana said such partnerships were vital to empower women and girls through sport. “Gender-based violence affects all of us and it’s in every space of our lives and we can’t stress enough the importance to mobilise all sectors of society to fight the scourge. We have met with SA Football Association to mobilise the football sports fraternity and will continue to solicit all sporting codes to help fight abuse in all its forms.”