Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) has donated netball equipment to the Edo State Government through the Edo State Sports Commission.
The Permanent Secretary of the Commission, Mrs Sabina Chikere recieved the equipment on behalf of the government.
Also present at the event was the Director of facilities Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Victor Edokpayi and some members of the Sports Commission.
This donation was made in preparation for the NGO’s formal launching of “Project 2027” in Edo State.
The goal of PROJEC 2027” is to bring netball to the attention of one million Nigerian school girls before the end of 2027. This the NGO believe will be achieved through the training of 1200 P.E. teachers who will then impart the knowledge gained into their students. The trained P.E. Teachers will be provided with free netball starter pack (netball balls, rims/nets, finger-held whistles and training bibs).
Presenting the netball equipment on behalf of CSED Trustees, the National Coordinator of CSED, former Super Eagles’ player, Edema Fuludu said that the founder of CSED Initiative, Cornelius Ehimiaghe is keen to make Edo State the hub of netball development in Nigeria.
“Netball is a girl-child/women exclusive sport and it can be used to empower the girl child, promote their health, improve their level of literacy and the general well-being of our youths.
“Especially the girls. Netball is played by more than twenty million people all over the world, Netball is a usual feature in the Commonwealth Games and the organizers of the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane (Australia) is currently exploring with the IOC; the possibility of including netball as one of the events of the 2032 Olympic Games.”
CSED Initiative is of the view that we cannot talk about gender balancing in the sport ecosystem in Nigeria, when netball has been neglected and is almost unheard of in the sporting calendar at both the grassroots and national level. “In the 1960s and 70s, netball was played in girls’ secondary school and Teachers Training Colleges all over Nigeria.
At that point in time, female football was a novelty event, while netball was vying for superiority with athletics and handball. Among female students in Nigeria, netball was more widely played than basketball in Nigeria in the 1960s and 70s.”
It is interesting to note that since March 2015, when a representative of CSED Initiative held a formal meeting with staff of the International Netball Federation (INF) in their headquarters in Manchester, CSED Initiative effort at reviving the game of netball in Nigeria has been deliberately blocked by some sports administrators in Abuja who will not do anything to promote the game, but will want to use netball to maintain their post-retirement relevance in the sport ecosystem in Nigeria.
In spite of these hindrance, CSED Initiative has not relented in their effort to promote the right of Nigerian girls to play netball. “Before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, we trained 24 Netball Africa coaches, we built a netball court at IDPs Camp Uhogua (Edo State) and “PROJECT 2027” is going to be the biggest grassroots sport mobilization programme in the Nigeria sport ecosystem.
In this regard, we will be collaborating with all progress conscious individuals, NGOs, Foundations, corporate organizations, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sport, NYSC, Sports Commissions, local government authorities, sports Department of tertiary institutions and the media to promote the right of the Nigerian girl to play netball.
Some of the netball equipment that was donated to the Edo State Government include: sixty (60) netball rims/net, sixty (60) complete sets of green and purple training bibs, one hundred and twenty (120) netball balls and one hundred and twenty (120) finger-held whistles.
The donated equipment will be used in the training of 30 P.E. Teachers. Within the next one year, CSED Initiative intends to train 100 P.E. Teachers in Edo State.
This basic training programmes will be held in the three senatorial areas of Edo State and the two days training manual which Mary Waya (current INF Ambassador and coaches’ trainer) has specifically developed for “PROJECT 2027” will be used in the training of the P.E. Teachers.
The safeguarding of athletes and students will also be imbedded in the training of netball P.E. Teachers.
In her reaction, Mrs Sabina Chikere said she on behalf of the Sports Commission’s chairman, Yusuf Ali who was unavoidably absent received the donated items with joy and promised to follow government’s cardinal initiative of making Edo State Nigeria’s leading sports destination.
She stated that the Edo State government will be happy to partner with CSED to promote the development of grassroots netball and promised to support the implementation of “PROJECT 2027” in Edo State.