This week, the International Working Group on Women and Sports (IWG) commemorated 21 days before the seventh conference to be held in Gaborone next month, against a backdrop of sponsorship challenges.
IWG secretary general, Game Mothibi told Mmegi Sport this week that, despite persistent knocks on several doors, there has been no luck with sponsorship.
She said they have partners and some of them are coming as speakers and exhibitors.
“Sponsors are not coming the way we thought. It is a world conference and we thought it would attract a lot of interest. We seem not to be getting through to potential sponsors no matter how much we talked to them. We appreciate the few that we have. They have done a lot by being part of the conference on Women and Sport,” she said.
Mothibi said sponsors do not really have to give to IWG, the benefit also goes to the country that people can see that besides government, there is appreciation on the ground. It will be a message of support for women in sport and the will to close the gender gap in sport, where men still dominate, Mothibi argued.
She said companies can pay for their employees to attend the conference. Mothibi said the progress report should indicate the impact that the IWG has made during its four-year stay in Botswana. “We had engaged international researchers who were working on the progress report that is going to be shared during the conference. The report will indicate what we have done in the agenda of women in sport internationally. It is not only about the local legacy, but we are judged internationally on
She said IWG is working with locals such a taxi association. She said the branded taxis are going to be used to provide transport to the delegates during the conference. Mothibi said the reception is good and it is clear that the message is reaching home. She said many Batswana are registering for the conference, even though they have not reached the 300 target mark.
“We hope sporting codes will close the remaining gap because some of them have not registered. Maybe it has been an issue of finances. We expect registration to increase in the next few days,” Mothibi said. She said when they won the bid to host, there were 419 signatories and they set themselves a target of adding 200 more. She said they realised that it was steep but they managed to take the number to 582. “It is the first time a host registering such a number,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mothibi said preparations for the conference are at an advanced level.
“The venue is ready for the conference and accommodation is also available. We are expecting high profile speakers. Six of them are finalising confirmation this week and the rest are expected to confirm next week. Over 20 speakers have confirmed their attendance,” she said.
She said they have moderators for all sessions and majority of them are locals. New Zealand has won the bid to host the next conference in 2022.