By John Tuerijama
CO-FOUNDER of the African Women in Sport Association (AWISA), Carol Garoës, will not seek re-election at the organisation’s elective congress scheduled for April in Nairobi, Kenya.
The elective congress will among others discuss the restructuring of AWISA into five AU (African Union) regions, creation of regional structures, develop a plan of action, discuss the amendment of the AWISA constitution, elections for the national and regional bodies, finances and admissions of new members.
In an interview with Confidente, Garoës said that after 19 years in office as the AWISA secretary general, it is time to step down and give others an opportunity to come up with fresh ideas on how to move AWISA to the next level.
“Having been a founder member, and being in the driving seat of this organisation for this long, it will be fair to step down and walk away. However, the constitution permitting, I will continue to assist the newly elected members in whatever capacity, just to ensure smooth transition,” she said.
Positions that will be contested at the elective congress are those of president, vice president, secretary general, treasurer and five regional directors.
“Our office has, however, not yet received completed nomination forms, except for Mauritius who has indicated interest in hosting the secretariat,” Garoës said.
She said 30 countries have so far confirmed receipt of the invitation to attend the congress and 22 of those have said they will attend. Garoës has expressed concern with the silence of the North African countries which have neither acknowledged receipt nor confirmed participation. Only Morocco from that region has indicated they will participate in the congress.
Asked what AWISA has achieved, Garoës said recognition by the AU Commission for Social Affairs ranks among the major achievements. That recognition, she added, enables AWISA to participate in the relevant AU meetings and to use such meetings to lobby for the organisation’s objectives.
She said further successes include the hosting of the elective and general assembly by Namibia as well as the constitutional review committee meeting by Mauritius. AWISA also hosted a capacity building seminar in sport administration, in Cameroon.
As secretary general, Garoës attended the 9th African Union gender pre-summit under the theme: ‘harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth and empowering young people especially young women for leadership and civic participation.’ That meeting was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
She said AWISA executive members also attended the AU sport council administration seminar in Cameroon, adding that the objective of attending all those meetings is to continue networking among stakeholders in order to improve the understanding of AWISA’s roles within the sporting fraternity and governments.
She said AWISA was also instrumental in having netball as a medal sport at the All Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique.
On the challenges facing AWISA, Garoës said AWISA has since its inception faced numerous challenges which include the creation and sustaining of national and regional structures in order to propagate the role of AWISA effectively within the member states.
She added that financial support by the respective governments is a headache, coupled with challenges of securing sponsorship for AWISA programmes. In addition, Garoës said, member countries also struggle to pay annual membership fees to AWISA.
Garoës’ said her dream, before she steps down, is to see AWISA admitted to the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa as full member and securing a seat on the male dominated body, at the level of vice presidency.
The biggest war that AWISA must continue to fight is the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls among member states.
When asked about member countries’ commitment to the principles of AWISA, Garoës said: “There are definitely member states that are not fully committed to the ideas and objectives of the Association for various reasons.
“Most member states are vocal in articulating the issues of promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls at African and international platforms. However, when they return to their comfort zones, they do not create and support national women in sport associations in those efforts.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015