“Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS” Youth football tournament kicks off
Football helps to educate children about HIV and AIDS
Baku, October 20, 2006 - UNICEF and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Youth and Sports have teamed up again this year to highlight the risks of HIV and AIDS for young people - this time through the powerful medium of sport.
The nationwide football tournament among young people celebrating the first anniversary of the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign began on October 10 with pre-qualifying games and will culminate in a final game on the World’s AIDS Day, 1 December.
The official launch of the tournament will take place in the Gandja Olympic Centre on October 25.
“We believe in the power of football. We believe that sport helps children – both boys and girls - not only to grow physically strong; it also helps to build the confidence and self-esteem that will serve them throughout their lives,” said Azerbaijan UNICEF Representative, Hanaa Singer.
“In many countries, UNICEF uses football to educate children about HIV and AIDS. In a world where far too many children suffer from poverty, armed conflict and AIDS, football can help rescue the part of childhood that includes the right to play. The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children should enjoy the basic right to play,” she said.
Azerbaijan Child and Youth Football Federation is helping to organize the games in three stages (local, regional and final) and is encouraging 14 to 18 year old young people from secondary and sport schools all over the country to get involved in the tournament.
The games will take place in the cities of Baku, Gandja, Guba, Lenkoran, Shamakha and Nakchivan with participation of about 7,000 young football players representing 60 different regions.
“We’re deeply committed to working with young people – not merely for them. And we are grateful to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for believing in the power of youth and believing that young people are the first line of defense in the country,” Ns. Singer said.
Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS is a global campaign to alert the world to the fact that children are missing from the global AIDS agenda. It provides a platform for urgent and sustained programs, advocacy and fundraising to limit the impact of HIV and AIDS on children and help halt the spread of the disease.
UNICEF works in 156 countries and territories around the world. Its programmes cover education, health, water and sanitation and the protection of children. UNICEF also advocates with governments for inclusive policies, budgets, and programmes to protect and promote the rights of children, and to ensure that children have a voice in their own futures.
For further information please contact:
Ayna Mollazade, Communication Officer