Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry yesterday met with the Ambassadors of Sweden, Sofia Calltorp, and Cuba, Carmelina Ramirez Rodriguez, at her offices in Harare to explore possible areas of cooperation.
First to meet the Minister was Ambassador Calltorp in the morning, and briefing journalists soon after the meeting, Calltorp said they deliberated on a number of issues around the empowerment of youth through sport.
“So I had a very good conversation with the minister about how we can empower youth in Zimbabwe through sport and other types of community activities in order to strengthen the youth participation in society.
“Of course a special focus for us is young women and how we can empower them and make sure that they develop their full potential. So we had very good conversations with the minister and I look forward to follow that up in different ways.
“Sweden is strong sporting nation in many different fields. Of course one the world’s most famous football player is Swedish, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But we also discussed with the minister, (she) has some very strong women swimmers that are good friends of hers of course since her time as an Olympic athlete. So there are many important connections and various (areas) to develop in terms of co-operation,” said Callport.
With the empowerment of young women part of their discussions, Calltorp said ensuring equal opportunities in sport is an important contribution to gender equality.
“I think sport is an area where the importance of gender equity is very visible because women and girls are as good athletes as young boys. And if we can make sure that there is an equal participation in sports development and sports education and facilities that is an extremely important contribution to gender equality at large in Zimbabwe as well as in Sweden” said Calltorp.
Calltorp said they already have several programmes they are funding and one of the initiatives they talked about yesterday is the one in Hopely where they are working on strengthening young people’s skills development and engagement in the community.
Coventry also met Cuba’s Ambassador Rodriguez who said they are looking at strengthening bilateral co-operation between the two countries.
“This visit was to pay courtesy call to the minister. I didn’t meet her before, after the appointment and we are intending to strengthen our bilateral co-operation between Zimbabwe and Cuba in sport, arts and recreation.
“We have an opportunity in this to increase (co-operation) and make more visible the relationship between Cuba and Zimbabwe,” said Rodriguez.