By Chinedu Nwosu
Rugby Arica’s “Unstoppables” have proved just how unstoppable they are! Since being selected three months ago, these 12 women have utilised their energy and passion to raise the profile and fast-track the development of women’s rugby in Africa.
“The participation of women in rugby forms a critical part of the overall strategic development plan of Rugby Africa. It is the key area of growth and potential success on the international stage for Rugby Africa,” says Khaled Babbou, President of Rugby Africa
As part of the #TryAndStopUs social media campaign, Rugby Africa called on all women in rugby across its member unions to share their inspiring stories to become one of the “Unstoppables. Over 60 women from 19 countries applied. Twelve women and girls were chosen for unstoppable’ qualities, showcasing the diversity of the continent, with ambassadors from Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
They are all trailblazers in their very own way, impressing the judges with compelling stories of excellence, opportunity and inspiration.
Commenting on the campaign, Chairperson of the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee Paula Lanco said “We are delighted at the success of the campaign and the momentum it has gained for women’s rugby. It is very encouraging to witness how interest in women’s rugby continues to grow.”
#Try and Stop us’ social media campaign featured a variety of images and videos, that also included a mix of in-depth conversations and teaser videos where all “Unstoppables” were presented and gave a glimpse of their diversity by a short ‘hello’ in their local languages.
Fans loved it! Rugby Africa’s social media handles saw some considerable growth, especially Facebook with 4723 new likes, a total reach of 358123, and post engagement at 35635. Instagram new followers reached an amazing 4723 accounts. Twitter results were just as impressive with 120k impressions thus far.
“Unstoppables” Breast Cancer and AIDS Awareness Campaign
The public continued to show their support and love for the “Unstoppables” during the Breast Cancer and AIDS mini campaigns. The Breast cancer awareness campaign and the World Aids Day campaign garnered engagements across social media.
Rugby manager, Rugby Africa Maha Zaoui said It is incredibly encouraging to see how our “Unstoppables” have used their passion for the sport to raise the profile of the women’s game in Africa.
They are true ambassadors of our sport and one of the building blocks of our operations in Africa, together with the Women’s Rugby Advisory committee, the African Women’s Rugby Network, the Leadership scholarships programs and forum and our women’s competitions.”
Christmas messages from some or our “Unstoppables”
“Being an unstoppable, means you can be courageous just like me and join the game of rugby. Since being the first unstoppable in Botswana it has given me a pathway to talk to different media platforms and get the word out on rugby and most importantly to encourage women to play rugby. For me I’ve been getting good reviews and many people are interested in the campaign. I would like to reach out to as many girls who are the younger generation, to get them started early into the game of rugby with the women’s committee in the union supporting the initiative, 2021 will be a busy year for us. “
‘’I believe that the positive energy of not giving up, hard work, commitment and dedication towards one’s goals makes one an Unstoppable. I am excited that the community and the girls are not surprised to see me as one of the 12 Unstoppables of Rugby Africa, as they know the work, I put in did not start today and this has encouraged parents to let the girls play Rugby. My selection as an “Unstoppable” has inspired a lot of girls to aim higher, not only to play for Ghana but to also work hard towards becoming female coaches and administrators in future.
My goal for 2021 and beyond is to see Ghana Rugby Women’s Team compete in both 7’s and 15’s global competitions with local and international media platforms extending publicity.” Women’s Rugby Manager of World Rugby Katie Sadleir said “This is such an exciting time for women’s rugby as we can see distinctive growth, diversity and support for women’s participation in the sport.
The “Unstoppables” have provided us with such a powerful platform to reach all women globally and for participation in the sport to continue to grow.”