ICC Associate Members have worked to make sure girls and women don’t miss out on the gains of sport and community.
The 86,174 people who filled the MCG in March 2020, cheering loudly for Alyssa Healy, Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning and Harmanpreet Kaur, were a sign of just how far women’s cricket has come in recent years. Players around the world have become role models for boys and girls of the next generation.
ICC Members have been working to take the empowering nature of sport to more girls, right from the grassroots, and the ICC Development Awards 2020 reflect this. A cornerstone of many of the winning programmes from all the five regions is the emphasis on cricket being a sport for all, and specifically a vehicle to empower girls.
While the 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative category specifically highlights programmes for girls and women, other projects in the Development, Digital Fan Engagement and Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative categories too are mindful of being gender balanced.
Focus on female cricket
Last year, girls in Brazil learnt that they could, if they wanted, grow up and become professional cricketers. Cricket Brasil awarded historic central contracts to the women’s national team, becoming the first Associate Member to fully contract the women’s team before the men’s.
In Nigeria, the Girls Aspire initiative uses cricket as a tool for girls’ empowerment and socio-cultural change. Ijeoma Okigbo, a journalist, took what she had learnt from an ‘introduction to cricket’ course to a school in Gauraka, Niger State, and coached some junior girls from underprivileged backgrounds. The association then chipped in with further training. The school team is already winning tournaments, and the girls, who have gained confidence and respect, are kept busy and off the street.
Samoa International Cricket Association’s Healthy Nanas programme is a reminder that good things happen when women come together. The initiative offers women and girls a platform to participate in sport and ensure a healthy lifestyle, while also serving as a safe space for them to network and talk about issues in their personal lives and community – be it domestic violence, finance or cancer.
In Malaysia, players were ambassadors for #GirlsForGoals and #Cricket4WomensAid, where they supported online fund-raising for survivors of domestic abuse and spoke of how sports had transformed their lives. Besides, through the Cricket Adiwara entry-level programme, the target is to have 128 students playing in each of the 269 participating schools, with at least half of them being girls.
Spreading the message
The Danish Cricket Federation realised that if they wanted to bring more young women into the cricket fold, they had to speak to them in their language, and then really listen to what they wanted. So, they invested in and partnered with young female micro-influencers on Instagram. The energy and passion they brought into the social media campaign was carried over into online digital coaching sessions for new recruits and revitalised the ecosystem. Even the Minister of Culture and Chair of the Olympic Committee pitched in with inspiring videos.
Among other significant digital initiatives to spread the message of cricket, Kuwait Cricket pursued a digital marketing campaign to inspire the next generation of players, and also recognise the tireless work of those behind the scenes now. Cricket Namibia ran a two-month campaign, riding on the wave of their ‘ICC Associate Men’s Performance of the Year’ award in July 2020, to raise the profile of cricket and the players, grow the ‘Eagles’ brand and encourage commercial partnerships. The campaign reached over 300,000 people.
Meanwhile in Jersey, the Fairway Super Series, which was aimed at providing competition for promising junior cricketers ahead of national squad selection, also gave the boys a taste of a modern T20 franchise event, by having a draft for them and filming it. Highlights of the four-team event reached 12.9K viewers and raised the visibility of the teams’ charitable partners.
The CricketMania initiative in Italy was also targeted at reaching more young people and integrate cricket more closely into the Italian sporting landscape. In promoting cricket and its values in primary and secondary schools, the Federazione Cricket Italiana has been able to strengthen the journey from schools to clubs. A partnership with Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI), a non-profit association acknowledged by the Italian Olympic Committee, has meant cricket is now also included in the National School Games list.
For the environment
And finally, Cricket Italy, keen to set an example of environmental responsibility, became the first in Italy to introduce a project on sustainability. To help offset their CO2 emissions, they calculated their carbon footprint, taking into account the production of cricket bats and the environment cost of a cricket championship. As a start, via Treedom, they have planted 200 trees in Cameroon, meant to offset 11,000kg CO2.
The full list of regional winners and global nominees in each category are below. The Global Award winners will be announced on 20 April.
ICC Development Initiative of the Year
Cricket Namibia - Capacity Building
Cricket Argentina - Online Coaching, Umpiring and Scoring Courses
Cricket Association of Nepal - The return of cricket
Vanuatu Cricket Association - Live Stream of the Vanuatu Women's Club Cricket T20 Grand Final & Santo Women’s T20 Competition.
Cricket Italy - Cricketmania
100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year
Cricket Brasil - Central Contracts
Danish Cricket Federation - Female Participation Programme
Nigeria Cricket Federation - Girls Aspire
Samoa International Cricket Association - Healthy Nanas Programme
Malaysian Cricket Association - Awareness Programmes
ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year
Vanuatu Cricket Association - Live Stream of The Vanuatu T10 Blast And The Women’s T20 Grand Final
USA Cricket - #TrainAtHome
Jersey Cricket Board - Fairway Super Series
Cricket Namibia - National Promotion of Awards Win
Kuwait Cricket - Digital Media / Marketing Campaign
Cricket 4 Good Social Impact of the Year
Bhutan Cricket Council Board - Covid-19 Response
Uganda Cricket Association - Covid-19 Relief
Persatuan Cricket Indonesia- Digital Cricket for Good
Cricket Italy - Environmental Sustainability Project
Cricket Peru - Cricket-Ena’