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Announcement from the AWF

Dear All

My apologies for the length of time since the last contact. It has been a period of rapid change during which we have had time to reflect on the future of the AWF. The Covid pandemic meant that it was not viable to run the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy (WSLA) in 2020 or 2021, and AWF activity has been winding down. Consequently, eleven years after the AWF was founded, now feels the right time to wind up the AWF partnership between me and the University of Chichester. However, we have jointly ensured there are firm plans for much of the good work of the AWF to continue, either as part of the University or as part of the International Working Group on Women in Sport (IWG) when the Secretariat relocates to the UK later this year.


Achievements

I feel very proud of the achievements of the AWF in the eleven years since it was formed in 2011.


Jordan Matthews, Lucy Piggott and Lombe Mwambwa have all successfully completed their PhDs funded by the University of Chichester. They all studied topics related to women’s leadership and the women and sport movement. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship. As well as benefitting from the AWF, all three of them have made a huge contribution to the running of the organisation, especially Jordan who has been our Executive Officer and in many ways the backbone of the AWF from its inception. We simply could not have achieved what we did without them. All three are successfully pursuing their careers. Jordan is a Senior Lecturer at Chichester, Lucy is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Lombe has returned to Zambia where she is Executive Director of NOWSPAR. I wish them all well in their future lives and careers. It has been inspiring to work with them.

The AWF has also promoted research excellence among early career academics through the Celia Brackenridge International Research Award (CBIRA) which has attracted quality applications from several countries. This year’s winner was Jessica Siegele from the University of North Carolina, with research on sexism among University Swimming Coaches in the USA.


Perhaps the AWF’s biggest contribution to the Women and Sport Movement has been the education and development of women sport leaders. In the early days of the AWF we worked with the Tanzanian Sports Council to support the work of young women leaders and their mentees in different parts of Tanzania.


More recently we established WSLA. This has comprised a residential week at the University of Chichester and bespoke licensed programmes in Botswana, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the UK. We have welcomed women leaders from all over the world (368 women from 165 organisations based in 62 countries have attended). The innovative programme was developed and delivered by Lucy Faulkner and Pauline Harrison, who brought in and trained over 30 Facilitators from “Females Achieving Brilliance”. The programme was a huge success and far exceeded my expectations. Some of these women were directly supported by the AWF to attend. Moreover, graduates from the programme have been able to access small “Catalyst” grants from the AWF to enable them to deliver women and sport initiatives in their own countries and organisations.


The future

The University has recently re-launched the WSLA programme with Leading Edge as a new delivery partner. You can find out more about the 2022 residential week programme here. It has also committed to maintaining the Archive of women and sport materials, which is to be re-named The Anita White Collection (please contact J.Carter@chi.ac.uk for access.)

The balance of AWF Funds will be transferred to the Sport and Recreation Alliance, which is the host agency for the IWG Secretariat. The Anita White Fund will continue the Catalyst Grant programme with slightly revised criteria. And Professor Elizabeth Pike will continue to run the CBIRA as part of the University of Hertfordshire’s role as Lead Research partner of the IWG.


Thank you

In concluding this chapter, I would like to thank all those of you who have contributed to and supported the AWF in different ways:

  • Members of the AWF Strategy Group for their time and advice

  • Staff and students at the University of Chichester

  • Donors of cash and archive materials and Fundraisers

  • Speakers at our events

  • WSLA Programme Leaders and Facilitators

  • WSLA participants

  • Organisations that have sent participants to WSLA

  • And in particular to the AWF co-founder, Professor Elizabeth Pike, who had the courage and the vision to establish and nurture the AWF from the beginning – and is remaining a key player as we move forward to the next phase.


It has been a privilege to work with you all.

Best wishes

Anita

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