Achievements by, with and for girls are the focus of the #GirlsCan Football Festival, organized jointly by UNICEF and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, on 11 October, the International Day of the Girl, Report informs.
The festivals part of the national #GirlsCan campaign promoting equality of girls and young people through demonstrating their individual skills and talents in all spheres of life.
This year, as part of the campaign a delegation from the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), consisting of coaches and players, visited a number of Baku schools, talking to children about the benefits of sport, as well as undertaking a special soccer session for young women players at the Football Academy organized by AFFA.
“Today, more girls are moving from dreaming to achieving,” said UNICEF Representative to Azerbaijan Edward Carwardine. “More than 1.1 billion girls around the world are poised to take on the future. Investing in them – including in their health, education and safety – allows them to build better lives and to create a more peaceful and prosperous world for us all.”
“When girls are given the chance to take part in sport, they can challenge the stereotypes that label them as less able than boys. Sport, like education, can help girls become equal players in society,” said General Secretary of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) Elkhan Mammadov.
100 children from the Football Academy, as well as school pupils and children from vulnerable backgrounds are taking part in the festival in different football activities – these include five-a-side matches and skills events. As part of the #GirlsCan campaign, launched in 2018, a series of videos has also been produced featuring girls and young women sharing their experiences of breaking stereotypes around girls` participation in different aspects of life.
Since 2011, UNICEF and AFFA have worked together to promote girls’ development and empowerment, including through education, and inclusive and equitable sports programmes. Through the joint programme, a some 1,000 girl footballers, aged 10 to 21 have already been reached and learned about healthy lifestyles, s basic life skills and information on child rights, as the initiative works with youngsters to help them communicate them to their peers, families and community members.