|© UNICEF Namibia/2009|
|In Windhoek, Namibia retired German national football star Nia Künzer kicks a ball at the launch of ‘Galz & Goals’, a programme designed to get more girls playing sport.|
WINDHOEK, Namibia, 10 November 2009 – UNICEF and the Namibia Football Association (NFA) have launched a programme in Windhoek to help get more Namibian girls playing sport.
Known as ‘Galz & Goals’, the programme will use sport as a platform to promote individual health and social responsibility. It aims to empower girls and young women to achieve their goals.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Dr. Vetumbuavi Veii recognized the great cooperation and commitment Namibia has enjoyed with UNICEF to help improve the lives of young people.
“This programme is uniquely aimed at the girls of Namibia and seeks to use involvement in football as a tool for social change,” he said.
The project, which is one of UNICEF’s many public-private partnership initiatives in Namibia, will benefit thousands of young girls in primary and secondary schools across the country. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Namibia and more than 190 countries have signed, recognizes the critical role of sport and physical play in children’s lives.
Retired German football star Nia Künzer attended the launch to encourage young girls to take advantage of the programme.
“Football as a team sport teaches you that others rely on you and they need and respect you – and so, too, do you respect them,” she said.
The importance of sport
As part of this partnership, UNICEF and NFA are developing a curriculum for teachers, coaches and parents in communicating and teaching healthy lifestyles. The curriculum includes information on HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse and gender discrimination.
“Sport and play are important to UNICEF because they are vital elements in the health, happiness and well-being of children and young people,” said UNICEF Representative in Namibia Ian MacLeod. “Through the ‘Galz & Goals’ project, girls will have a safe environment to enjoy sport, while also gaining the knowledge and confidence to make smart choices in their lives.”
Following the launch of the programme, UNICEF and NFA sponsored a two-day festival, culminating in a football tournament for girls’ teams in Windhoek. Launches in four other regions of Kavango, Kunene, Karas and Hardap are planned to take place within the next two months.