The Malawi NOC AC utilised the Olympic Solidarity Activity Grant to offer its athletes workshops on crucial topics, such as harassment and abuse and WADA anti-doping rules.
Malawian athletes came away with a more in-depth understanding of fundamental areas and are now better protected by a new safeguarding policy.
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The Malawi NOC AC used the Olympic Solidarity Activity Grant to organise workshops on critical content to support the careers and well-being of its athletes, and to introduce a new safeguarding policy, which is the first of its kind for the Commission.
The workshops presented the Commission with a unique opportunity to discuss and offer an in-depth understanding to its athletes on the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport, WADA rules on anti-doping, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crucially, athletes were able to access information concerning each of the fundamental topics discussed in the workshops, including clear definitions on what constitutes abuse. Participants were also reminded of their duties, rights and responsibilities regarding the fight against doping, and in the protection of themselves and their peers from harassment and abuse.
Momentous policy created
Among the key objectives of the workshops was to express a commitment to the welfare of Malawian athletes, coaches and officials.
Since then, the Commission has been heavily involved in the production of a momentous new safeguarding policy, which was published in December 2020. The Commission’s focus now turns to ensuring the measures introduced by the policy are implemented across Malawian sport.
In creating this policy, the Malawian AC outlined the challenges involved in recognising issues of poor practice and of abuse. But their workshops offered vital education and clear explanations of both, as well as how and to whom concerns can be reported.
Greater support for female athletes
Judo athlete Alinafe Emanuel Phiri, who participated in the workshops, spoke candidly on the difficulties female athletes in sport face in protecting themselves.
“For example, we don’t have many women coaches,” she said. “Most of them are men, so it is really hard to approach men with a female issue.”
This is a struggle for many female athletes across the world, but having used the Olympic Solidarity Activity Grant to create a safeguarding policy, the Malawian NOC can now begin to address and offer greater support on this issue. This is an example of an AC using their Activity Grant to listen to athletes’ voices and respond with meaningful change.
Using the Activity Grant as an educational tool
Malawian swimmer and AC Chair Brave Lifa praised the grant for enabling the Commission to organise such workshops, which have given its athletes an opportunity to step forward and be heard.
“I believe the workshops will help our athletes to understand the importance of their voice in any sport,” said Brave. “We were able to reach out to as many athletes in our country as possible, and I’m confident that those who attended our workshops have gained a great deal of knowledge that will help to progress their sporting careers.”
Brave added: “The grant has served as a great tool to us and to our athletes. It’s served as an educational tool and has motivated our athletes to start using their voice.”
I’m confident that those who attended our workshops have gained a great deal of knowledge that will help to progress their sporting careers.