Beyond effusive Uganda She Cranes tweets, here is how you can help

August 19th, 2015
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Writing about Uganda’s national netball side stirs a lot of emotions in me. These are ladies who, against all odds, qualified and did a fantastic job in the 2015 world cup.

To give a little context, the She Cranes were just like any other unknown struggling (they still are struggling) sports outfit in Uganda until they reached the World Cup and we all started posting effusive messages on social media.

Before we could be so proud of our heroes, they had to travel 1,765 km by bus to Blantyre, Malawi to feature in the African Nations Challenge Championships in June 2013. It is there that their journey started, culminating in qualification for the World Cup in September 2014.

I am perpetually somewhat put out by the way in which we expend our time and energies exuberantly discussing the successes and failures of international athletes – dedicating numerous tweets and Facebook posts; devoting each and every blog post on Manchester United this or Arsenal that while at the same time neglecting to show even a fraction of the interest in our local stars. At least some of the responsibility for this should lie with our media houses who don’t dedicate enough airtime/space to promoting our sports stars in the first place; so how then are people to know about them in the first place, let alone care.

Uganda Netball She Cranes at 2015 World Cup

With the She Cranes grabbing headlines it was refreshing to have our local talent at the forefront of the media cycle for a change. But there is more to be done. In addition to posting effusive tweets about the She Cranes I would like to share a few ideas that I urge you to adopt. Do not get me wrong, all those tweets are heartwarming but we can do more to support our gals, and especially meaningfully contribute to their and the sport’s long-term success!

Dig into your pockets:

Yes, the very first thing you can do is dig into your pockets. The players in the national team are so broke that your $5 donation can go a long way. The president of the Netball Federation is called Susan Anek and if you’re serious, get in touch with me for her contact.

You can also make a financial contribution to an individual player. I have requested my staff at Kawowo Sports to help whoever would like to reach a specific player. Get in touch if you’re interested. Eventually, there will be a link on their soon-to-be website so that people can contribute online through Paypal or mobile money. So those of you in the Diaspora, no excuses!

Encourage the company you work for to sponsor the National Team:

It goes without saying that sports has evolved and relies heavily on corporate sponsorship. Take an initiative and speak to the decision makers in the companies that you work for and impress upon them the need to partner with the national team. The players who excelled at the World Cup and those yet to be identified for future involvement need continuous resources to meet their lofty ambitions. Remember to tell them how the She Cranes are loved and a partnership is beneficial to the company.

Offer Pro bono Services to the Federation:

Sports is now a business and therefore requires people with business acumen involved. The federation needs skilled marketeers who can write professional proposals to potential partners; we’ll need the lawyers to draw up good contracts, medical specialists to keep the gals healthy, etc. Just think about your area of expertise and see how that fits in the national team’s needs.

Offer kits and equipment: Do you own a gym? Offer access to the national team players at no cost. Do you import training shoes? Offer a few pairs to the gals. Are you a key decision maker at a training complex? Offer access to the team. Do you work at an insurance firm? Hook the girls up with medical insurance!

Pressure the government and related agencies to act

Uganda is in dire need of sports facilities. The only chaps who can make this happen (at least in a systematic way) are in government. Do you have the ear of the sports Minister? Scratch that. Do you have the ear of the President? Implore upon him that, in addition to offering the ad hoc occasional handout, that our athletes require access to appropriate infrastructure. Do you have the ear of the folks at the Uganda Tourism Board, tell them how the team gallantly raises the Ugandan flag and brainstorm with them about how they can work with the team to raise the profile of the pearl of Africa.

What I am Offering to do for the She Cranes:

My daily work involves getting brands and individuals to the internet in order that they can create a reputation that can later be monetised. At my company, Owino Solutions, we are going to help with the following, at no cost: Purchase what will be the official domain for the national netball federation Set up the web hosting for them Build the actual website Streamline what will be the official social media profiles Train the federation staff on how to create original relevant netball content for the web

At Kawowo Sports, my staff already have explicit instructions to continue promoting every single event the national team and the sport in general organises. I am particularly proud of the work our team has done in continuing to shove the plight of the netball team in the eyeballs of whoever visits kawowo.com or scrolls through our Twitter and Facebook timelines.

One more thing, go to this tweet and retweet! Let others know how you are proud of our national netball team and share how you are helping the girls.

Do you want to join in on these small initiatives, please get in touch with me. Do you have your own unique way you think you can be of assistance to the federation, I implore you to ACT!


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