BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Aaron Jani has been appointed chairperson of the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee (WRAC) in charge of finance, development and competitions.
WRAC was launched as part of Rugby Africa’s support for gender equality.
Zimbabweans Abigail Mnikwa and Abigail Kawonza were also drafted into the leadership, training and conferences as well as the player welfare and participation sub-committees respectively.
Jani’s task is to review available funding from World Rugby, Rugby Africa, and Unions to assess the impact and propose enhanced funding strategies where applicable.
As part of Rugby Africa’s broader strategy, the role of WRAC and its sub-committees is to define key performance indicators that demonstrate progress of the development of women in rugby across Africa to promote gender inclusion practices that foster growth and development within the sport.
The committee will provide a platform for females in all spheres of rugby to be recognised for the crucial value their contribution and participation provides towards shaping the future of the global game.
The four sub-committees will focus on key areas of advancing governance and leadership, competitions, player welfare, development, and retention to meet strategic goals for women’s rugby across Africa by implementing the following objectives with the following chairpersons in charge:
Zeena Isaacs-Van Tonder, who is the media manager at the South African Rugby Union, is chairperson of the communication, marketing and public relations committee, while Ugandan Regina Hellen Lunyolo heads the leadership, training and conferences committee.
FÃ©dÃ©ration SÃ©nÃ©galaise de Rugby medical committee head Anna Preira was tasked to lead the player welfare and participation committee.
WRAC cairwoman Paula Lanco said the committee was embracing its future to promote and position women in rugby at all levels, equipping them with adequate resources and the support needed to succeed and retain interest from fans and ultimately investors to further enhance the game.
“Our newly launched advisory committee and sub-committees have several unstoppables and influential union leaders who reflect our values and intent to encourage the global development of women in rugby, giving them equality on and off the field,” said Lanco.
To date the WRAC committee and sub-committees have made significant strides, appointing quality members that are focused on reviewing and implementing finance strategies, leveraging publicity opportunities, and maintaining the overall welfare of players by providing access to trainers, coaches, and educators.
Women’s Rugby manager at Rugby Africa, Maha Zaoui, said the creation of the WRAC and its four sub-committees has been instrumental towards building a global vision for women’s rugby in Africa.
“With the impact Covid-19 has made globally, we are able to work with the sub-committees to overcome challenges the pandemic has placed on world sports and identify untapped opportunities,” said Zaoui.
The president of Rugby Africa Khaled Babbou described the formation of WRAC and the sub-committees as a massive step forward in developing leaders in women’s rugby as it aligns with the recent International Women’s Day theme of Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world and the strategic goal for women in rugby.
“The aim is to achieve a minimum representation that includes 30% of women in leadership roles and to have 40% of the registered players to be female by 2025,” Babbou said.
“Our goal is to continuously put women at the forefront of our strategic plan and ensure the objectives of each sub-committee serve in the interest of further developing the welfare and retention of female rugby players.”