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Sport codes drag feet in signing IWG Declaration

The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) affiliates are dragging their feet in signing the Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration, which promotes the participation of girls and women in sport.

The local International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) has a short fall of 40 signatures, with 580 having signed.

The IWG secretariat took their campaign to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) conference held in Gaborone last weekend. Despite the local codes dragging their feet, the weekend campaign was a success as many countries signed the declaration.

IWG secretary general, Game Mothibi told Mmegi Sport that they have received 83 signatories during the conference but they still have a shortfall of 40 to reach the target of 620.

“Signing of the declaration started immediately after the first IWG conference that was held in 1994 in Brighton, United Kingdom. The Brighton Declaration came about as legacy for the first IWG World Conference and as Brighton Legacy,” she said.

Mothibi said since 1994 up to 2014 international and national sport organisations, women and sport movements signed the Brighton Declaration.

After 2014, when IWG turned 20 years and as Helsinki legacy, the declaration was changed from Brighton Declaration to Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration on Women and Sport. Mothibi said Botswana became the first host of the new declaration, Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration on Women and Sport, in 2014.

“We took over from Helsinki with 419 signatories which have all signed the Brighton Declaration since 1994,” Mothibi said. She said they believe in the declaration as the host and they have given themselves a task of 200

more signatories to make it 620.

Mothibi said it was an ambitious target looking at the fact that five hosts, all of them combined received 419 signatures.

“We have received signatures from different organisations all over the World including FIFA, Tanzania Sport Council and Botswana Netball Association among others,” she said.

Mothibi said before the weekend WBSC conference, they had 497 signatures and managed to get WBSC, Africa Baseball and Softball Confederation as well as 81 more baseball and softball federations from different countries. She said that brings the number to 580 signatories with only 40 away from target.

“We are hopeful, we would reach the target and we have pleaded with Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to consider mass signing for different sport associations during their annual general meeting scheduled for November,” she said.

Some of the sporting codes that have not signed the declaration are athletics, table tennis, judo and volleyball.

Athletics spokesperson, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said it is unfortunate that they have not signed the declaration. He said it is an oversight but if they are approached, they will sign.

Judo president, Jafta Letsholo said the IWG secretariat has not approached them on the mater. He said they would like to see and study the document first.

“Maybe they approached the previous committee because my committee was recently appointed into office. But we are ready to sign the declaration anytime,” he said.




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