Hannah and Jo blog on girl power at home and here in Botswana.
For the past couple of days, we have been doing coach education with trainee PE teachers at Tonota College of Education.
We had a group of about 20, the majority of which were women and were all keen to learn and play cricket. Most of them hadn’t played before but it turns out that there were some pretty good players. It’s great that at the end of their three year course they will be trained PE teachers and will be role models to their students.
One of the messages we are teaching about HIV / AIDs awareness is that everyone can play together, boys and girls, there is no stigma. Of the 1500 children we have seen so far this week it has been wonderful to watch the girls and boys play together as they learn the joys of cricket.
As the only two women in the CWB group we feel that it is important to show, especially the younger children, that everyone can play cricket. We told the teachers that it was Women’s Sport Week in the UK and we feel that this could take hold in Botswana too with the enthusiasm that we saw in the teachers.
In the CWB team we are all coaching together, men and women, cricketers and non-cricketers. While we have both played badminton and one of us plays cricket it doesn’t matter over here, all that matters is inclusion and enthusiasm.
The reasons we enjoy sports are the camaraderie, the team spirit and getting out and being active. Not only is that what we are encouraging people to do over here but it’s what we are doing as we lead sessions with the team on a level playing field (or more accurately, an uneven dust bowl).
It is often assumed that women are more reluctant to join in sport but actually when given the opportunity and support they are often pretty damn good. In fact, Jo’s demonstration of a cover drive was better than Lee’s! So it was agreed that Jo should do all the demonstrations in future.
We have been posting photos on Facebook and have already had some people ask how to get involved. Also, every time we get lunch the cashier girls ask how to get involved with cricket and even out on the street when they see us wearing a CWB shirt many ask how they can play. Even Hannah has been bowled over by the game and is keen to join a club when she gets back.
In all, we feel very proud to have empowered and inspired loads of female teachers to progress in sport and support the thousands of children that they will teach in the future. Spice girls might be gone but girl power lives on!