The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to announce that a three-year partnership agreement between the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) and the Ethiopian National Anti-Doping Organization (ETH-NADO) has yielded significant benefits for the protection of clean sport in Africa.
The agreement, which was facilitated and monitored by WADA, saw SAIDS provide support, guidance and expertise to ETH-NADO in building its anti-doping capacity. It is one of a number of such agreements, instigated by WADA, designed to give developing National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) access to the resources and experience of other, more developed and experienced NADOs.
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “Cooperation between NADOs is vital for regional development. Developing NADOs really benefit from having access to the experience and resources of others, particularly when they are in the same region and understand the challenges specific to that area. Just as a young athlete can learn from a more senior mentor, so too is the case with National Anti-Doping Organizations.
“Commitment on both sides is very important in these partnerships, and in this case, it was outstanding with both National Anti-Doping Organizations fully engaged with the concept and reality of the initiative. The fact that there was regular communication and feedback between the NADOs and with WADA also ensured that the partnership kept momentum throughout the three years. In short, this partnership has helped to build anti-doping capacity and strengthen the system within Ethiopia, further protecting clean sport in that important African sporting nation.”
ETH-NADO CEO Mekonnen Yidersal said: “WADA’s partnership program is crucial to strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of NADOs worldwide by fostering a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and trust between nations. It provides the opportunity to share knowledge and experience. Moreover, it brings NADOs together in one team, working together with the common aim of protecting clean sport. This partnership has been extremely beneficial to anti-doping in Ethiopia and I would like to thank our friends at SAIDS and WADA for their invaluable input and guidance.”
SAIDS General Manager Fahmy Galant said: “Sport is international and therefore, the challenges that sport faces are often best dealt with in a cross-border or even global way. Anti-doping is a prime example of this. When clean sport is strengthened in one country, athletes benefit around the globe. Anti-doping capacity is built when we share best practices and adapt them to the particular national sports environment. As a result of this partnership, sport in Africa is now stronger and better protected.”
Specifically, during the course of the partnership, improvements were made to the following aspects of Ethiopia’s anti-doping program:
- Organization and structure of ETH-NADO
- Doping control programs, including urine and blood testing
- Intelligence and investigations, including whistleblower provisions
- Education and information for athletes
- Results management
In addition, while SAIDS was providing the mentoring to ETH-NADO, this partnership was also very beneficial to SAIDS itself, especially in terms of upskilling staff and highlighting areas where improvements could be made to its own program. Based on this experience, ETH-NADO has now committed to assisting other developing NADOs, ensuring that the system continues to be strengthened throughout the region.
WADA’s Regional Offices – in this case the Agency’s Africa office located in Cape Town, South Africa – work closely with the Agency’s Program Development and NADO/RADO Relations Department to provide support to NADOs and Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (RADOs). In addition to the regular guidance WADA provides to NADOs and RADOs, the Agency also facilitates these types of NADO-NADO partnerships where there is a need for a more structured and strategic approach to development.
The objective of these partnerships is to help NADOs further develop and build capacity, with the more developed NADOs acting as mentors for the less developed NADOs, sharing their experience and expertise through detailed project plans. This approach has resulted in several successful NADO-NADO partnerships over the past few years, including between the NADOs of the following countries: Norway-Kenya; Canada-Jamaica; Poland-Azerbaijan; and United Kingdom-Belarus. Other such partnerships are ongoing.