Rugby Africa launched its new Sports Management Training Programme earlier this month, which it hopes can help inspire further growth in the women’s game across the continent.
Participants in the programme, which has been targeted at those responsible for running women’s rugby within member unions, were welcomed onto the online course during an opening ceremony on 2 September.
Guest speakers at that event included World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont and General Manager for Women’s Rugby, Katie Sadleir.
Today marks the launch of the Rugby Africa Sports Management Training Program. Hear what our opening panelists have to say about the significance of it.#WhyWePlay #AfricaAsOne #societegeneraleafrica #WorldRugby @WorldRugby @BillBeaumont @KSadleir pic.twitter.com/Cg95fEC1NC— Rugby Afrique (@RugbyAfrique) September 2, 2021
The following day, the 27 participants took part in the first of 12 online training sessions that will take place over the next six months and cover a range of topics related to sports management.
At the end of the course in January, each participant will present a detailed case study on how to organise a rugby tournament in their country.
It is hoped that by the end of the programme they will be able to take the lessons learned on the online course to their unions and implement a women’s rugby development project on the ground.
“The idea is that if everyone works in their union, women's rugby in Africa can grow together,” Rugby Africa Women’s Rugby Manager, Maha Zaoui told World Rugby.
“This programme can only have the objective to give competencies [and] tools to the participants.
“But, for this first edition my objective is that at the end, every participant has in between their hands a project to develop women's rugby, and after six months through Rigby Africa, staff members will be monitoring those programmes.
“I always say the start [of this programme] will be after six months. So, after six months, we will start to implement those projects.”
‘More than satisfied’
Zaoui was one of the inaugural recipients of the World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship, through which she completed an Executive Masters in Sport Organisations Management (MEMOS).
It was her experience on that course that gave her the idea for the Sports Management Training Programme, and Zaoui has been supported in setting it up by MEMOS Director Mathieu Winand.
Following the opening ceremony and first two sessions, which focused on environment, law and administration, Zaoui says the reaction from participants was “very, very positive”.
“The network of lecturers of sports management helped me too much,” she said.
“I know these people and I know that they will have a very, very good impact on the participants.
“So, me and Mathieu, we really chose this kind of person because this first session must be a success, because if that's the case, we can organise it with other regions or with other participants.
“Now between the opening panel and the first chapter, I'm more than satisfied to be honest.”
Zaoui is confident that the training programme can become an annual course that helps provide more union staff with the skills to further the development of women in rugby.
Looking further ahead, the Tunisian is hopeful that it could also be opened up to people beyond Africa. “I feel that this programme can lead in the future,” Zaoui added.