The Field is Yours is a charitable event that aims to encourage women to take part in sports and raise awareness of healthy living. Organized in partnership with Qatar Women’s Sports Committee, the event took place on Saturday 27th February 2016 at the QWSC building and was attended by over 300 women. H&L team was present and took the opportunity to interview some of the event’s key organizers and participators.
- When and how did “The Field Is Yours” initiative come to be?
Fatima Al-Qaedi: We started off last November in a 4-day youth challenge with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), aiming to create youth initiatives. We began working straight away on raising funds for our idea. Thinking about the theme of the event, we came up with the idea that it should be a sports event aimed at women. We raised funds by participating in the Qatar National Day and National Sports Day in Katara.
- So did today’s event come from the same initiative and concept?
We began by selling smoothies to raise funds on National Day and Sports Day; we then got sponsored by ExxonMobil and ROTA and finally managed to organize the event. The main purpose of this event was to focus on women in sports, which is a topic that is sometimes overlooked.
- How well did the community embrace this event, more specifically those who worked with you and the volunteers?
The first people we worked with were the Qatar Women’s Sports Committee, they helped us tremendously in finding a venue and equipment with which to conduct our activities; all of that helped us cut costs. We talked with multiple centers about voluntarily participating in TFIY. Six centers offered to organize different activities for us once they understood it was a charity event.
As for the volunteers, they have become part of the team and helped us accomplish everything we needed for TFIY. We thank Sheikha Al Hajiri, who started with us as soon as we asked for volunteers. Asking for volunteers was actually great because we met Dalal Al Jafri, who was a key player in the planning of TFIY.
Dalal Mohammed: I worked as the media coordinator and public relations manager for TFIY. I communicated with clients to raise awareness about the event in different places like universities and Katara. We contacted influencers in the Qatari community, including women who work in media; we have Haneen Al Naqdi, Shoug Al Naqde, Asma Al Hamadi, and Shatha Al Adhami. We also know that bloggers are great influencers in the community and we looked for bloggers who represented us and the spirit of our event. We contacted the Qatari lifestyle blogger Koodiz who has a huge following of girls and presents herself in the best possible way as a Qatari woman. We also worked on making sure that the event was seen as a charity sports event for women.
- You brought up an important point about including well-known local influencers in the event, how important is that for its success?
The aim of this event is to raise awareness; when people see that these local influencers are part of the initiative, they follow in their footsteps, take on board the advice and are more likely to participate. For example, when Haneen Al Naqdi is seen as a person who plays sports and eats healthily, that has an affect on her followers. If that wasn’t the case, then this event would not have been such as success. So including well-known local influencers is important and we thank all those who participated, including Health and Life.
- You clarified the vision, mission, and goals of this event but now we need to know the rest of the story. Are there plans to continue hosting this event, and what is your vision for it?
Honestly, we were surprised at how many people showed up; around 300 women participated with us today and that’s great. TFIY was such a fun event and we would sincerely like to thank all those who participated, we would like to thank the volunteers, the organizers, and everyone who made TFIY possible. Especially considering we had such a short period of time promoting and publicizing this event.
- Do you think there is currently some sort of barrier or restriction for women to partake in more sporting activities in Qatar?
Women face many challenges when it comes to practicing sports, this is due to the lack of gender-specific sports clubs or centers, and their ease of access. We came up with TFIY and made sure we incorporated multiple fitness and health centers and clubs that are specialized in specific sports. This way, we made sure all those who participated knew that they have options. Some may like dance, some may like yoga; it all depends on your preference, and we focused on bringing a variety to appeal to all ages as well.
- What is an empowered woman in your opinion? What is the importance of having initiatives like TFIY?
The success of TFIY actually provided us with a perspective on this topic. Those who participated with us today got information about sports and the options they have to maintain their ideal weight. This information is all over the internet and social media. However, we feel that this event actually implemented some of the information you find on health websites and social media; we also raised awareness about the topic of health and wellbeing.
TV Presenter Haneen Al Naqdi, proud ambassador to TFIY: My presence at this event actually benefits me first, because it is important to educate ourselves before we educate others. I am honored to have been chosen to be an ambassador to TFIY because I aim to raise awareness and educate, especially in the humanitarian approach and charitable approach as well. Raising awareness is a humanitarian effort and we also discuss healthy lifestyles and healthy eating, as well as maintaining a healthy balance of clean eating and exercise.
I hope this initiative continues, especially considering the success rate it has achieved in such a short amount of time. It is vital to see that interaction happening and to know that women want to participate in such events. Social media plays a huge role in raising awareness, and there must be more of these events to educate the community.
Lifestyle Blogger Koodiz (Kholoud Al Ali): I got really excited when I first heard of this event, and that girls in Doha are creating events like this. I am very into sports, I was into gymnastics for 6 years and I was into diving for 2 years; I have always been very sporty, and I do a lot more with it.
When I heard of TFIY, I immediately said yes to participating. I encourage all women to participate in events like this and this event completely had the same idea.
- A question for media personality Shoug Al Naqde: since you are into sports, how important is journalism to this field?
Shoug Al Naqde: Being as I played in the Qatari team for Tae Kwon Do and received the black-belt, I loved the idea of TFIY, especially as Qatar is working on its new state of the art sports arena for the 2022 Olympics and since sport is an important aspect of achieving the National Vision 2030. We have seen the country’s interest in the topic in constant events happening all over, like in Katara and The Pearl. It is wonderful to see that such events are charitable and humanitarian.
We support TFIY because its approach to charity is unique; charitable events are not all about donating money and food drives. We see that the event aims to serve Qatar as a point of goodwill and to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030.
This event is truly unique and very practical for it received great crowds and it stood unique against all other sports and charitable events. The participation of the crowd in itself is just fantastic.