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Annabelle Williams celebrates ChildFund’s work leveraging sport to inspire female leadership

2 min read

ChildFund Ambassador, Paralympian and corporate lawyer Annabelle Williams has praised the work of ChildFund to inspire women in some of the most challenging circumstances in the world.  

On International Women’s Day she talks about using sport as a tool that builds resilience, creates leadership opportunities, and helps women believe in the ability to create meaningful change.   

ChildFund works with partners who run sporting programs in developing nations to inspire change and create the next generation of community leaders. To date they have issued over 2,300 coaching accreditations and 55% (1,316) of these have been to women. Integrated sport and life skills curriculum developed by ChildFund have been run across the globe in over 35 countries, places like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Fiji and Samoa. 

These programs create real leadership opportunities for women including 20-year-old Natasha from Malawi in East Africa. 

“Coaches have quite a huge role; I believe that we must be a good example for young girls. Coaches should be role models and we should demonstrate positive behaviour,” said Natasha.  

“It is also our role to work for gender equality, to showcase good leaderships skills, and build teamwork among all the players, so that they can learn from us and create the changes they want in their lives.”  

Since joining the program, Coach Natasha has developed as a leader. Not only has she set a personal goal to revisit school and pass her Certificate of Education, but she has also encouraged and supported three of her players to return to school. 

Reflecting on the opportunity sport offers people in developing countries and the reasons why she became a ChildFund Ambassador. Annabelle Williams spoke about her childhood and growing up in the Indonesian city of Jakarta. 

“Growing up in Jakarta I saw how sport gave people opportunities, builds community, delivers belonging and can act as such a beacon of hope for people living in impoverished conditions,” said Williams. 

“Also, as a child or young person with a disability, sport was one of the things that gave me confidence and I knew that ChildFund did a lot of work with children in developing counties with a disability, this is one of the reasons why I got involved with the organisation.”  

Annabelle went on to talk about the challenges of women in developing countries and why it’s important we celebrate the unique work of ChildFund.  

    “I think it’s important to acknowledge women in developing nations on International Women’s Day because frequently the important work they do is overlooked.” 

William highlighted that sports can help to build leadership in a community and if these leaders are women, they will have the power to raise the profile of the important work women do in developing communities. 

“In this respect, I really want to champion or shine a light on the work that ChildFund supports for women in sport, particularly in a male dominated sport like Rugby. 

“ChildFund supports leadership opportunities not only for female athletes, but also places women in coaching and sports administration positions where they can create real change.” 

Lastly, Williams said that she has not seen this done anywhere on the scale ChildFund is doing it in developing communities and this something that truly deserves to be celebrated on International Women’s Day.” 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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