Girls Leadership Programme

7 & 8 July 2011 …in cooperation with the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and the Dreamfields project.

Plan and goals for seminar & workshop

The seminar and workshop was conceptualized by ICESSD to tie in with the University’s commitment to respond in critical and creative ways to the needs of a society in transition and the passion ICESSD has for community engagement and development.

The aim of the Young Leaders in Sport Seminar & Workshop was to promote leadership and mentorship qualities in young girls through various discussions, presentations and interactive workgroup sessions as well as develop practical on-field leadership qualities with outdoor sport activities.

We invited girls between the ages of 11 – 16 with leadership qualities to participate in the two day event which included participants from the Dreamfields project, schools in partnership with UWC community projects and community non-profit organisations from the Western Cape Network for Community Peace and Development working in various communities from all over the Western Cape, e.g. Plettenberg Bay as well as girls from the West Coast and Karoo regions.

Partners

We are very grateful to the Provincial Government of the Western Cape for their funding of the event and to Dreamfields for their part in co-coordinating logistical arrangements in bringing girls from across the Province to the seminar.

Participants

  • Dreamfields – girls from 7 schools (Bruckner De Villiers, Leeu-Gamka, Phakamisani, Naphakade, Alfred Stander, Sicawu & Kenmere primary schools)
  • Usiko – non-profit organization working with farming communities in Stellenbosch
  • Amandla Kulutsha – non- profit organization working in Khayelitsha and Belhar
  • The Ark – non-profit Christian school in Faure
  • Women for Peace – non-profit organization in Mfuleni
  • Ubabalo – non-profit organization working in the wider Stellenbosch (Khayamandi ) area
  • Thokozani Brothers – non-profit organization in Khayelitsha
  • Quaker Peace Centre – non-profit organization working all over the Peninsula
  • UWC, Student Leadership Academy outreach centre – Student development body working with school children in Delft and Kensington
  • Santos Soccer Academy – development arm of the professional club

The above organizations are all involved in youth development either through sport and other activities.

Proceedings of the seminar and workshop

Day 1

The focus on the day was to develop strong women leaders through presentations and thought provoking interactive sessions with young girls, providing them with practical examples of how to develop oneself into good leadership, to set goals for yourself and how to pace yourself to achieve interim milestones.

The opening statement of the conference was “Know where you come from and where you are going” which struck a chord with most girls which is evident in the evaluation form they completed at the end of the seminar.

We used a young third year student from the University’s Leadership Academy programme as MC for the day for the girls to easily relate to the fact that they can do anything they set their minds to and that their youth should not be an obstacle in the execution of duties. This proved an immediate success as 8 girls volunteered to individually go up to the podium to thank speakers and presenting them with a small gift and also lead the singing of the National Anthem.

Presentations were followed by a Q & A session starting with Dr Laurine Platzky giving a Provincial overview of the Strategic Sports Plan of the Western Cape, Elana Meyer speaking on her life as an athlete, Boebie Solomons giving insight into coaching and Desiree Ellis talking about her life in soccer. All speakers were highly motivated and inspired the audience. By mid-morning the girls were very interactive with all the speakers taking pictures and feeling very comfortable in their presence. The presentations all followed the same theme of how to set goals, practical ways to set interim millstones for the different sporting codes, how to remain focused and how to overcome obstacles.

The presentation session was with a poetry reading on the role of South African mothers and grandmothers by Diana Ferris from the university. Love and role-models also formed part of the theme for the day.

After lunch the HIV/AIDS group presented the audience with a drama performance that had the most impact on the students which highlighted different characters we find within society (sugar daddy’s, candy girls and the ever present inner conscious). Smaller work groups concluded proceedings on the first day by focusing on HIV Stigma and Discrimination, Teenage Pregnancy, Risk Reduction – Youth Voices Photo Narratives and Change Agents – Youth Leadership in HIV & AIDS. This session concentrated on interactive sessions and expression which involved creative activities such as painting, drawing, etc.

Dinner

The dinner started off with a performance by the St Michael’s Marimba band and Sis Thandi Mpambo-Sibuhu Kwana from Provincial Government of the Western Cape addressed the group in a vibrant and interactive way and the entire group which included seniors and teachers were drawn into her passion of making something good of any situation no matter what the circumstances are. By giving special thanks and acknowledgement to her supportive husband cemented the message of earlier in the day to enter into meaningful relationships with one another with mutual respect. The speech was followed by a dance performance by young girls and boys. A certificate ceremony concluded the formal proceedings of the night.

Day 2

This was a totally interactive session of the event which started with a life skills component. Practical examples such as good listening skills were imparted to students making examples of how it affected not only yourself but others too when you do not pay attention. This session also highlighted the much needed support and appreciation of family and friends when you are pursuing your goals and 4 girls were asked to phone and thank their mothers for the support and love. This was a very emotional moment when many girls acknowledged the love and role of family and friends.

Desiree Ellis was so taken by the girls on the first day that she volunteered to assist with the field clinic and the soccer tournament. The field clinic presented the girls with practical skills in various sporting codes concentrating on ball control and eye movement skills.

A soccer tournament followed and the seminar concluded with an award ceremony where UWC Rector Professor Brian O’Connell addressed and motivated students to remain focused on their goals: be the best you can at whatever you want to achieve in life and develop as a whole in all areas of your life.

Presentation of boots and balls were made to the top achievers with a strong message to others to aim to be not only the equivalent of those achievers but to achieve more. To the winners the message was simply not to stop pushing yourself as others are pursuing the same dream.

Each participant received a medal, an Umama book and a laminated card on perseverance.

The girls ended the event by reading out loud their pledge: I am the future.

Proceeding finished at 16h00.

Overall assessment

The seminar and workshop were a great success which was evident in the feedback received from the girls. From an organizational point of view the interaction between girls from different schools, cultures, communities and organizations played a huge role in the success of the seminar.

Speakers were all of a high quality, easily relating to a young audience and we had the right mix of speakers and activities for this age group. Baring a few challenges the event unfolded smoothly as planned.

For greater impact we will run two focused groups splitting the girls in age categories 11-13 and 14 -16.

Evaluation

We attach our feedback summary for your attention. Every single girl said they would like a repeat seminar on topics such as youth, health and human rights and advised that they easily related to the speakers and activities.

Conclusion

ICESSD has through this process identified the dire need for development of girls and is serious about ongoing development of these girls. The seminar proved to be invaluable to the girls and we are hoping to have 2 or 3 interim workshops in different areas culminating in the annual seminar and workshop and would like to partner with Provincial Government in this initiative.

We would like to thank the Provincial Government of the Western Cape for giving us the opportunity to have such an important impact of the girls and we would like to also thank all partners participating in both days such as Dreamfields , UWC HIV/AIDS Programme, UWC Leadership Academy, UWC Sports Administration our partners of the Western Cape Network for Community Peace and Development as well as Professor Brian O’Connell and all the speakers mentioned in this report.

ICESSD

21 July 2011.