LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) and UNICEF have joined hands to promote gender equity, tolerance and inclusion through cricket, as South Africa prepares to host the Women’s T20 World Cup, from February 10 to 26. The latest phase of the partnership — which was launched in October 2022 –mobilizes the power of cricket to drive positive social change and to encourage girls and women to play and be empowered by cricket. Sports are a great leveler in society by bringing girls and boys together, whilst promoting leadership and respect. The World Cup matches will be complemented by ‘Cricket 4 Good’ sessions, including active participation from players. The cricket clinics provide coaching and involve a life-skills component that forms part of broader ‘Sports for Development’ programming in South Africa. This work engages children and young people through soft skills, such as problem solving, empathy, and negotiation. These attributes are an important part of everyday life but especially so in the event of crises when survival depends on individual, family and community resilience. The ICC and UNICEF partnership is committed to girl’s empowerment through cricket and believe that this approach can help to foster tolerance and shared responsibility during difficult times. The Women’s T20 World Cup comes on the back off the highly successful inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup which was won by India last month. ‘Cricket 4 Good’ sessions also ran alongside the matches providing more than 450 children and young people with fun cricket clinics, including with team players, as well as life skills sessions led by UNICEF South Africa volunteers.