Rugby Africa Launches the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee

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As part of the broader strategy to strengthen their ongoing support for gender equality, Rugby Africa has launched the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee (WRAC) which includes sub-committees.

Rugby Africa confirmed its ambition aimed at promoting and positioning women in rugby at all levels, equipping them with adequate resources and the support needed to succeed and retain interest from fans and ultimately investors to further enhance the game.

The WRAC was launched on Thursday April, according to the announcement from Cape Town, South Africa with the intension of defining key performance indicators that demonstrate progress of the development of women in rugby across Africa to promote gender inclusion practices.

WRAC will foster growth and development within the sport, while the committee will provide a platform for females in all spheres of rugby to be recognized for the crucial value, contribution and participation towards the shaping the future of the global game.

The WRAC is composed of four sub-committees and chairpersons that will focus on key areas of advancing governance and leadership competitions, player welfare, development and retention in order to meet strategic goals for women’s rugby across the continent by implementing the following objectives with their following chairpersons charge:

Chairperson: Regina Hellen Lunyolo who is the Director of Women’s Rugby at Uganda Rugby Union – Leadership, Training & Conferences will to review and track member unions’ Women in Leadership and develop strategies that support their identity, engagement and empowerment through conferences, awards, panel discussions and interviews.

Chairperson: Zeena Isaacs-Van Tonder who is the Media Manager at South African Rugby Union – Communication, Marketing and Public Relations will drive the overall communications plan for Rugby Africa to communicate effectively to stakeholders and raise the profile of women’s rugby.

Chairperson: Anna Preira who is a board member of the Fédération Sénégalaise de Rugby medical committee – on the Player Welfare and Participation will serve as RA Women’s Rugby grassroots ambassadors fostering participation and support towards local RA activities and initiatives, while leveraging their social media engagement to publicize women’s rugby gains and achievements.

Chairperson: Aaron Jani who is the President at Zimbabwe Rugby Union – Finance, Development and Competitions will be in charge of reviewing available funding from World Rugby, Rugby Africa, and Unions to assess the impact and propose enhanced funding strategies where applicable. You can learn from Hawley Advisors about managing finances.

Paula Lanco , the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee Chairwoman said that the Committee is embracing its future to promote and position women in rugby at all levels, equipping them with adequate resources and the support needed to succeed and retain interest from fans and ultimately investors to further enhance the game.

“Our newly launched advisory committee and sub-committees has several Unstoppables and influential union leaders who reflect our values and intent to encourage the global development of women in rugby, giving them equality on and off the field,” Lanco added.

To date the WRAC committee and sub-committees has made significant strides, appointing quality members that are focused on reviewing and implementing finance strategies, leveraging publicity opportunities, and maintaining the overall welfare of players by providing access to trainers, coaches, and educators.

Maha Zaoui, the Women’s Rugby Manager at Rugby Africa, also explained that the creation of the WRAC and its four sub committees has been instrumental towards building a global vision for women’s rugby in Africa.

“With the impact COVID-19 has placed globally we are able to work with the sub-committees to overcome challenges the pandemic has placed on world sports and identify untapped opportunities,” said Zaoui.

The President of Rugby Africa Khaled Babbou pointed out that the formation of WRAC and the sub-committees is a massive step forward in developing leaders in women’s rugby as it aligns with the recent International Women’s Day theme of Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world and our strategic goal for women in rugby.

“The aim is to achieve a minimum representation that includes 30 per cent of women in leadership roles and to have 40 per cent of the registered players to be female by 2025.

“Our goal is to continuously put women at the forefront of our strategic plan and ensure the objectives of each sub-committee serve in the interest of further developing the welfare and retention of female rugby players,” said Babbou.

General Manager at Rugby Africa Coralie van Den Berg testifies that, “the WRAC and creation of its sub-committees will ultimately help increase awareness of women in rugby, attracting more tournaments and partnerships with sponsors, increasing the overall popularity of the game in the continent.”

Sub-committee members are as follows:

Communication, Marketing and Public Relations: Paule Ella Guei – Côte d’Ivoire (Unstoppable), Christel Janet Kotze – Namibia (Unstoppable, Fatou Camara Sene – Senegal (Unstoppable), Georges Bebga – Cameroon

Leadership, Training  and Conferences: Naasu Fofanah – Sierra Leone, Erica A.Amoako – Ghana, Grace Lyorhe – Nigeria, Abigail Mnikwa – Zimbabwe, Wejdane Limame – Tunisia (Unstoppable)

Player Welfare  and Participation: Babalwa Latsha – South Africa (Unstoppable), Fatma El-kindiy – Botswana (Unstoppable), Abigail Kawonza – Zimbabwe (Unstoppable), Rafatu Inusah – Ghana (Unstoppable), Donatienne Rasoampamonjy – Madagascar (Unstoppable), Samiya Ayikoru – Uganda (Unstoppable), Sanaa Barakat – Egypt (Unstoppable, Kananelo Joyce, Mokhachane – Lesotho, Princess Alban Ugonwaezeh-Agugo – Nigeria. and Camilyn Oyuayo – Kenya.

Finance, Development and Competitions: Ando Niaina Herimahefa – Madagascar, Havyarimana Albert – Burundi, Janis Nduli – Zambia. Rajinder Singh Sembi-Pape – Kenya and Helmi Ben Salah – Tunisia.

By: Jejje Muhinde, a sports journalist and analyst based in Rwanda

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