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UNICEF and AFFA team up to promote girls participation nationwide

The United Nations Children’s Fund and the Azerbaijan Federation of Football Associations will use the power of football to address girls and boys nationwide
BAKU, April 20, 2011 - UNICEF and the Azerbaijan Federation of Football Associations (AFFA), the governing soccer body in the country, officially kick off their partnership campaign today by signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding. The joint work will harness the power of football in order to increase participation of excluded and disadvantaged girls and boys in sport, to promote awareness of healthy life styles, and impart life skills to children and young people, as well as to promote girls' participation in sport nationwide.
AFFA and UNICEF are joining forces to implement a joint campaign that has several components, including:
· Joint training courses for football school coaches aimed at expanding the number of female coaches competent to work with excluded and disadvantaged girls and  boys; While AFFA equips football coaches with essential generic coaching skills, UNICEF will equip them with knowledge and skills on how to create an inclusive sports environment, and to teach healthy life styles and life skills, child rights.  UNICEF, as sponsor of the Under-15 girls football league will help train those football players on inclusive sports environment, healthy life styles and life skills, and child rights to raise awareness and promote positive behavioural change among their peers.
· Community mobilization in organization and facilitation of community sports activities and events; 

· Using woman athletes as role models and advocates for girls in sports also joining public awareness campaigns on promoting girls’ participation in sport.
· Organize master-classes by the Under-15 girls teams' football players for children from under-privileged families in rural districts and villages, and also children in institutions. Such action will both contribute to raising the visibility and popularity of football among children and contribute to awareness on healthy life-styles and child rights, and contribute to acceptance of children with disabilities by youngsters;
“We believe in the power of football. Sport is a particularly good way of reaching out to girls as well as boys, and can provide them with opportunities to connect with others socially, something that many girls are not able to do because of the restrictions they face as females,” said Mark Hereward, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan.  “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.”
 “AFFA is pleased to cooperate with UNICEF through a number of different activities and events that will both raise the visibility and popularity of football and contribute to awareness of healthy life-styles among youth. Definitely, it will also contribute to attracting girls to play football,” said Elkhan Mamedov, the General Secretary of AFFA. “This partnership is important to AFFA, as it is not only about football, but sport and development in general.”



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