On Sunday 12 February 2023, we launched a new Women’s Empowerment Programme – a partnership between CATCH Trust and the MCC Foundation. The programme will focus on health education for teenage girls playing cricket and support for their coaches.
The CATCH Trust and MCC Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Programme will deliver interactive workshops with expert guest speakers to talk about female self-care, sexual education, healthy eating and mental health. The workshops will take place at the CATCH Trust Centre of Cricket Excellence at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha and will complement existing cricket training sessions.
The year-long programme will target girls aged 13-19 years and will aim to improve their health knowledge, daily habits, build up their confidence, and create a safe all-women environment to discuss female-specific issues, share experiences and ask questions. The girls will also receive sanitary pads and healthy meals at each workshop.
‘The Women’s Empowerment Programme will bring a lot of positive change and will have a great impact on our girls as they will learn a lot out of it. It will improve both their mental and physical health, as they will learn how to overcome the daily challenges in their communities, which may lead them astray if they are not made aware’ said Babalwa Zothe, a coach at CATCH Trust and part of the leadership team designing the programme.
The programme will also provide further training and support to coaches. This will include empowering coaches with more resources and tools to support girls in township environments, improving male coaches’ awareness of the challenges that women face when playing sports, and supporting female coaches in further developing their leadership and professional skills. We are also establishing a network for women coaches across different sports and organisations to promote sharing of experience and challenges of supporting kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The programme launched with a weekend cricket tournament in Khayelitsha – the Township Trophy – which brought together 60 girls and their coaches from four disadvantaged communities across the Western Cape: Khayelitsha, Masiphumelele, Langa and Mitchells Plain.
‘These girls come from areas where they have so little for themselves and they have so many challenges in their lives. So we are launching a partnership with the CATCH Trust to celebrate girls cricket, help girls from the townships come together and get series of workshops designed to support them and their coaches.’ said Dr. Sarah Fane, Director at the MCC Foundation.
The Women’s Empowerment Programme builds on the existing ‘GKF Women and Girls’ initiative which aimed at inspiring more girls to play cricket and empowering women cricket coaches. This has included coaching workshops, cricket coaching, mentorship and socio-economic and life-skills support for the women and the girls.
‘We started out in Khayelitsha with just a handful of kids signing up to play and now we have over 400 of which a large amount are girls. So it is important for us to showcase the development and the progress of girl cricket in the area and to create initiatives like this where they are getting all the attention, which I think is important. And we are already seeing a handful of those young girls coming through and playing representative cricket, which is really exciting for us and just shows what is possible when the opportunity is provided’. said Gary Kirsten.