National Sports Federations trained in Safeguarding

  • Course covered sexual abuse, bias in team selection, violence and other issues

Gazette Reporter

National Sports Associations (NSAs) underwent “Safeguarding in Sports Training for Organisational Focal Point Persons” in Gaborone last weekend.

Provided by Sports Management Agency (SMA), the two-day training course was attended by over 12 NSAs, including tennis, karate, volleyball, judo, boxing, netball, rugby, table tennis, Botswana Tertiary Schools Sports Association (BOTESSA), Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and individual sports administrators across various sports.

The course was facilitated by SMA directors, Game Mothibi and Tsoseletso Magang. It covered how to handle and guard against harm and violence and abuse in sports.

In a subsequent interview with Gazette Sport, Mothibi said it is important for people who oversee sports to master the guidelines and policies of issues that may arise within their offices, especially issues concerning athletes.

“The whole idea behind this was to train these officers to become safeguards in sports so that they are able to handle issues of abuse and harassment or any issues that might happen in their associations,” Mothibi explained.

“They must be able to interpret the code of conduct well without any confusion or prejudice. We discussed how they are going to implement the processes of safeguarding and everything they have learnt in 16 modules that they were trained in. We believe it was high time in our sports that such issues were addressed accordingly.”

She noted that it is important to keep athletes in sports by creating a conducive environment for them, especially around problems of sexual harassment and assault and other issues that frequently arise. “Issues around national team selections have always been there where athletes accuse coaches of favouritism and being biased,” Mothibi pointed out. “But if people are trained in safeguarding, they are better able to address such problems through policies in place.”

“This should also ensure safe recruitment, especially when we hire coaches, administrators and volunteers so that when these people are in sync with existing guidelines. After this course, we expect participants to engage their athletes and executive further so that sports organisations are run more properly. The next training segment will be on the 5th of March where we will complete this course and then declare the participants safeguard officers. We will then move to train the presidents of various federations and the media in gender sensitivity reporting, amongst others.”

The project is sponsored by Africa Women’s Development Fund and will run until November 2022.