On the occasion of Africa Day, Speak Up Africa and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) (https://theBAL.com/)have announced the launch of “Teaming Up: African LeadHERs meet BAL4HER”. This sports mentorship program is part of Speak Up Africa’s “African LeadHERs” movement and BAL’s BAL4HER platform. It aims to advance gender equality, and women’s leadership and employability in the sports industry in Africa.
Gender imbalances in the sports industry remain considerable. On top of their low representation in sports, very few women are in decision-making positions such as head coach, club manager or referee. They are less represented in management, marketing, management, or other disciplines in the sports industry. “Teaming Up: African LeadHERs meet BAL4HER” launched by Speak Up Africa and the Basketball Africa League focuses on leveraging sport as a key driver of gender equality and social and economic transformation in Africa. Through this mentorship program, 6 young African female athletes from Senegal, Egypt and Rwanda will benefit from the leadership and networking experience of six female leaders in the sports industry. Over a period of six months, the mentees will be coached by mentors to strengthen their skills and knowledge on issues such as gender inequality in sport, mental health, public speaking, and storytelling.
The selected participants are:
- Ndeye Dossou Ndiaye (Senegal), Women’s Program Coordinator& Coach, NBA Academy Africa
- Ndeye Fatou Beye (Senegal), Basketball Operations & Scouting, SEED project
- Lama Fahmy (Egypt), Coaching and Player Development, New Giza Basketball Academy (NGBA)
- Ghada Elzend (Egypt), Partnerships & Communication, Bayine Sport
- Cindy Shirlley Kolenyo (Kenya), Communications & Public relations
- Fatuma Mukamugema (Rwanda), Community Engagement & Basketball Development, Shooting Touch
“The overarching goal of our league is to provide a platform in which young women and girls can take full advantage of the transformative power of sport. This mentorship programme is an ideal springboard to increasing women’s representation and give a new lease of life to the sports industry”, said Amadou Gallo Fall, Basketball Africa League President at the launch of the initiative.
Allison Feaster, Vice President, Team Operations & Organizational Growth at the Boston Celtics, and mentor on this program said that sharing experiences is key to changing the way young girls perceive their careers and their role in the sports industry.
“Mentorship is about cultivating confidence, inspiring trust in one’s abilities, and connecting young aspiring talent to seasoned leaders who are invested in their development. Thanks to my leadership role in one of the most respected sports franchises in the world, I can now create space for exposure and be a conduit to young African women aspiring to work in professional sports. It is an honor and privilege for me, and I can’t wait to empower and engage in a meaningful way with these future leaders!”, Vice President, Team Operations & Organizational Growth at the Boston Celtics.
” Young Africans, and young women, are key agents of change at the community, national and regional levels, across all sectors. We need to support initiatives that enable them to realize their full potential to achieve the African Union’s Agenda 2063,” adds Yacine Djibo, Executive Director of Speak Up Africa.
“Teaming Up: Africa’s LeadHERs meet BAL4HER” initiative reinforces the long-standing partnership between Speak Up Africa and the Basketball Africa League. In addition to its commitment to gender equality, the Basketball Africa League is also engaged with Speak Up Africa on the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In 2021, the Basketball Africa League partnered with Speak Up Africa to celebrate World Neglected Tropical Disease Day through raising awareness and distributing Covid-19 protection kits. This commitment will continue this year with a community-based outreach activity against NTDs scheduled on the sidelines of the Basketball Africa League “Finals” from 21-27 May 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, is a professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa. Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, the BAL builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Africa has organized across the continent and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America. Fans can follow the BAL (@ theBAL) on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and register their interest in receiving more information at BAL.NBA.com.
About Speak Up Africa:
Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a Policy and Advocacy Action Tank dedicated to catalysing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. Through our platforms and relationships and with the help of our partners, we ensure that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development. For more information, visit https://www.SpeakUpAfrica.org/
About African LeadHERs:
African LeadHERs promotes women and girls’ leadership and inclusion in public platforms and aims to encourage them to participate meaningfully in decision-making spaces for better public health. Gender equality is central to achieving each of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Speak Up Africa is committed to turning this belief into concrete actions and commitments. Through the African LeadHERs program, we partner with leaders from all sectors of society, including sport, fashion, culture and art, to work together creatively to build a stronger, fairer and more inclusive world.
Frederick Marfo is a sportswriter and social worker well known for his advocacy for equal chances and rights for all athletes, especially those with disabilities.