Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
THE senior national netball team players yesterday got a timely morale-booster ahead of this year’s Vitality Netball World Cup after they received US$4 000 from Plan International Zimbabwe to go towards their allowances.
The Gems are scheduled to leave for Liverpool, England, tomorrow for the Vitality Netball World Cup running from July 12 to July 21.
The team has been in camp since early last month for the final phase of their preparations and yesterday Plan Zimbabwe International presented the team with a US$4 000 cheque at their training venue, Stodart Netball Complex in Mbare, specifically for players’ allowances.
Plan International Zimbabwe country director, Angela Muriithi said with their organisation championing the need for gender equality across the board, they take pride in celebrating the Gems’ achievement (of qualifying for this year’s World Cup).
“Because we know the difficulties and hindrances that girls face in achieving even the smallest of victories in whatever sphere of life, we as Plan International take pride in celebrating with the Gems on qualifying for and representing Zimbabwe at the Netball World Cup.
“For us, what the girls have done reflects their effort, resilience, perseverance and hard work. The girls in this team who have enabled Zimbabwe to compete on the global stage for the first time (in) Zimbabwe’s history are also a representation of Plan International’s push for girls equality,” said Muriithi.
Muriithi said they recently launched their new campaign in Zimbabwe called “Girls Get Equal”, whose call to action is that girls will get equal power when they are equally represented in decision-making arenas and have power to influence the crucial decisions affecting their lives
She noted that the Gems’ achievement is a good example of what they are pushing for.
“Our Gems epitomise the spirit of girls get equal because they are claiming their space on the global stage in sport,” said Muriithi.
She said they want to maintain the Gems’ legacy beyond the World Cup and to mark International Day of the Girl Child, Plan International would like to support a local netball tournament by launching the Girls Get Equal Netball Trophy.
The details about the tournament will be availed in due course.
Gems’ captain, Perpetua Siyachitema, said they are pleased with the recognition they are getting for their efforts.
“On behalf of the Gems I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the support. That has always been our dream as girls just to become recognised, so that people know that there is a girl child who is doing wonderfully in sport.
“I guarantee you that we are going to inspire all the other girls and we are going to be working with you just to inspire other girls out there, so that they know that they have power to do this. If we have a passion to do something as women we will definitely go for it,” said Siyachitema.
The presentation ceremony was also attended by director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Eugenia Chidhakwa, who expressed gratitude to Plan International for their gesture.