Kuwait action plan sets out a promising future for African and Asian women in sport
The first Afro-Asian Women and Sport Forum taking place in Kuwait and jointly organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), came to a close yesterday with a clear promise and active commitment to furthering the development of women’s role in the world of sport in the two continents.
Opening addresses from OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo set the tone for the three-day event as they outlined the achievements made and the challenges ahead for women in sport. The Forum, attended by representatives from all 98 African and Asian NOCs, as well as delegates from the United Nations agencies, NGOs, the IOC, ANOCA, the OCA, and Continental and National Federations, concluded with the drawing up of an action plan reaffirming the delegates’ determination to include women representatives in all committees, monitor and communicate women’s participation in the world of sport at all levels, and organise an Afro-Asian Women and Sport Forum every two years.
Sheikh Al-Sabah declared: “Africa and Asia may have started late in terms of women’s sport but our development has been the fastest in recent years. Africa and Asia have a total of 11 female IOC members, which is the highest percentage among the five continents. I’m also very proud that all of our 98 NOCs sent female delegates to participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
ANOCA President Palenfo reminded participants that while progress has been made regarding women’s sports, still more needs to be done by the global sports community. He added: “Africa and Asia should work on measures to bolster ties within sport, and I wish this forum could be the perfect opportunity to address obstacles and develop women’s sports in both continents.”
The three-day event was an opportunity for over 130 women leaders and athletes from the two continents to discuss the gender-equality barriers they face in their countries and share their experiences to strengthen women’s networks in Africa and Asia.
Feedback from those attending the forum was positive. Samira Asghari, the 19-year-old Finance Director at the Afghanistan NOC and national team basketball player, said: “The IOC Women and Sport Forum for Africa and Asia is really bringing everyone together. I have learned a lot in the last two days. It offers such a great opportunity for us to not only share experiences together but also help and advise each other so that we can improve the situation for women and women’s sport in our NOC.”
IOC Executive Board member and Chair of the IOC Women and Sport Commission Anita DeFrantz also shared her delight with the positive outcome of the forum, describing it as “a wonderful gathering for all African and Asian NOCs.” She added: “I have been very impressed with the quality of the speakers’ presentations and the questions and feedback from the participants. I believe the outcomes from this forum will make a big change. Together with the IOC, the leadership of ANOC, the OCA and ANOCA, it will have a positive impact on women and sport.”
For further information on the Forum, check out the OCA website: www.ocasia.org