Beginning this month Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) will over the next three years receive Canadian sportWORKS (CSO) officers to roll-out the Botswana Long Term Athlete Development (BLTAD) frameworks. According to Communications and Marketing Manager at BNOC, Lame Ramokate this is a three-year partnership which will see Canada sending officers on 3-4 months rotation basis to Botswana to be based at identified federations. The first CSO Michael Small already arrived in the country on Friday and will be leave on December 15. Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) will be the first one to benefit from this program, with Small working at the BAA offices. Ramokate said the officers will be arriving through the Commonwealth Games Canada and Brock University (Canada) Queen Elizabeth Scholars Initiative (QESI) programme for sustainable sport development across the Commonwealth. “Through this partnership officers will be placed at National Federations on rotation until the end of 2017,” she said. Ramokate said BNOC has been developing sport specific BLTAD frameworks and implementation plans for various codes.
Each sport code will then have the opportunity to receive two placements with the first targeting grassroots while the second will focus on youth and junior levels. Ramokate said they chose BAA to be the first one to benefit from the initiative because given the recent work that has been done with developing BAA’s implementation plan through the assistance of BNOC’s BLTAD consultant Jennifer Brown; they saw it fit to give them the first placements. Ramokate said the role of the CSO will be to guide sports personnel to build capacity within the local sporting federation to implement these plans. “Emphasis will be on educating both coaches and coach educators through an on-going mentorship on stage specific training and competition programs. She said on top of that they will mentor coaches and staff on the rollout of these programs. The programme is expected to incorporate both classroom and practical education. Ramokate said the programme will be used as a benchmark for further implementation from sport federations.
BLTAD consultant Brown said nine officers will come to Botswana in total. When Small goes back in December the other one will be coming in January who will also be attached to athletics. She said the second beneficiary for the programme after athletics is not yet established but they will continue looking at other codes to see how ready they are. Brown said they are working with Canada because for the past three years they have been hiring Canadians at BNOC, and when Canada heard about the development of this programme in Botswana they just offered to assist. “This was an opportunity that we couldn’t possibly pass over because we know the local sports will benefit in a long run since for three months the officer will be here coaches will be mentored too,” Brown said.