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The rise and rise of Katisenge-Thizani

The rise and rise of Katisenge-Thizani

  • Wasbo sg scoops Tafisa VP position

Women and Sport Botswana (WASBO) Secretary General Keenese Katisenge Tizhani was recently elected The Association for International Sport for All TAFISA Vice President Africa 2022-2025.

The elections were done during the General Assembly for TAFISA, which was held on Friday 10th of June at the Grand hotel Bernardin in Portorož, Slovenia.

Wolfgang Baumann of Germany was elected as the new TAFISA President.

Katisenge-Tizhani has played a major role in sport development spearheading inclusive sports programmes for kids with disabilities and others from marginalised communities.

In 2015 she became the first Motswana to represent Botswana and Africa at the United Nations Youth Leadership Summit for sport development and peace.

In the same year she was awarded the Sports Administrator of the Year Award at the Botswana Sport Awards. She had previously served the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) for 8 years in its Executive as an Additional Member, Secretary General and later on Public Relations Director.

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She has also served as; Councillor and Secretary for the African Chess Confederation and World Chess Federation Commissions for Women in Chess 2014-2018, Head of Marketing for Gaborone International Meet (GIM), and International Athletics Event 2018-2019, Chairperson for the Botswana Sport Volunteers Movement (SVM) 2019-2021.

Currently she serves as a board member for the BNSC, representing WASBO.

Congratulations on being elected as TAFISA Vice President, what does winning these elections mean to you?

The appointment means a lot to me because I get the opportunity to impact and contribute to policy development at an international level.

This is an indication that if people work hard someone will recognise their efforts.

I have always had a dream of contributing to the growth and development of my continent and this is one way of doing it.

TAFISA has amazing programmes and projects that we will greatly benefit from as a country and continent.

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What was the criteria used to nominate you for the elections?

I was nominated by the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) since Botswana is a member of TAFISA through BNSC.

I guess the board took that decision looking at my profile and my contribution in sports.

How was the campaign?

The campaign was good.

It was mostly done online through publishing of profiles and videos.

It was healthy and professional

What is TAFISA mandate?

To achieve an Active World by globally promoting and facilitating access for every person to Sport for All and physical activity.

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The association advocates internationally for sport for all, provides and coordinates programmes and events and provides networking and experience transfer platforms.

The rise and rise of Katisenge-Thizani

Katisenge Tizhani

What does your role entail as the VP?

My role as VP is provision of oversight at policy and strategic level as well as in alignment with governance.

My role is to ensure that the interests of Africa as a continent are represented and that we benefit from TAFISA programmes as a continent, but at the same time bringing the element of value addition.

What is the mandate of WASBO?

The Mandate of WASBO is to advocate for a conducive environment for attraction and retention of women and girls in sport.

What can you say are some of WASBO’s greatest achievements since its establishment?

Introduction of a sexual harassment policy for sport.

This is in order to ensure protection, prevention, education and awareness around sexual harassment, especially for minors.

The other achievement is the introduction of the WASBO Special Award sponsored by Sprint Couriers at the annual Botswana Sport Awards.

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The award aims to recognise and celebrate those who are having a significant contribution to the development and growth of women sport and women in sport in Botswana.

We are also currently having contribution to the drafting of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy for sport.

We have made some submissions on the Sexual Offenders Registry Bill for Botswana.

Botswana was able to host the International Working Group on Women and Sport largely because of the existence of WASBO.

Hosting of the IWG led to the introduction of the Botswana Gender and Sport Strategy/Gender Mainstreaming Strategy.

We continue to lobby for formation of gender commissions in sport by the national sport associations to allow for easier implementation of mandate and formation of the commissions happen every year.

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WASBO recently released a statement about exclusion of female football management for WAFCON, did your organisation engage the BFA leadership before releasing the statement?

Yes, we have been making some engagement through our Chairperson Matlho Kgosi.

Some say it was wrong timing as it was likely to disturb the camp, what’s your take on that?

When it comes to issues of women in sport and in all other sectors of the society, timing is always perceived as wrong. However, we are an organisation that is open to feedback, the same way we would like to be listened to, we also listen when we are given constructive criticism and we have noted this concern.

How much support are you getting from the mother body BNSC in addressing this kind of concerns?

We continuously engage with the BNSC and the route that we have taken is to make impact and contribution largely at a policy level to ensure that we leave behind a lasting and tangible legacy when we finish our term.

We so far have a sexual harassment policy in place and are making input in others.

We also advocate in the area of funding and would like for sports codes that implement programmes for women and girls and other marginalised segments to be funded.

Reports show there is less participation of women in sport as athletes and in leadership, what do you think might be some of the contributing factors?

Contributing factors to low participation of women and girls in sport are cultural barriers, family responsibilities, absence of gender sensitive reporting, less support and resources being invested in women sport.

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These issues should be addressed through diversity, equity and inclusion policies, gender mainstreaming, having women in decision making positions in sport and mostly through implementation of documented strategic initiatives.

Most organisations like WASBO and the BNSC are now in the right direction in terms of inclusive policies, the next that we require now is aggressive implementation and monitoring and continuous assessment as well as holding those in management of different codes accountable.

What advice can you give to those aspiring to be sports administrators?

My advice to those aspiring to be sports administrators is that they should go for it.

For those who do not feel ready yet, my advice would be that they take advantage of the free empowerment seminars that are conducted in sport to empower and polish themselves further to be even more ready for the role.

Sports administration requires love and passion because that is what will mostly sustain you since the role is voluntary work.

Thank God it’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?

The Plan is to relax and spend time with my family.

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They allow me to volunteer for sport and they support me so I also make sure I do not forget them in the process.