BAKU, 2 November 2018 – The valuable contribution made by girls and young women to the development of Azerbaijan is the focus of the #GirlsCan Youth Forum, organized jointly by UNICEF and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), soccer’s governing body in the country. The Forum brings together key decision-makers officials and young people to discuss girls’ empowerment and how the country can do more to give adolescents the opportunities to succeed and flourish in society.
“When girls succeed, we are all winners,” said UNICEF Representative to Azerbaijan Edward Carwardine. “Empowering adolescent girls and working with them to provide them with the skills and opportunities they need to play a full, constructive role in the life of their communities can lead also to healthier families, strengthened economies, and more equitable societies. For a nation committed to building its human capital, empowering girls and young women is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
AFFA General Secretary Elkhan Mammadov said, “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.”
The Forum, organized with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is part of the national #GirlsCan campaign to promote gender equality and inspire more girls to demonstrate their individual skills and talents in all spheres of life. As part of the campaign, a series of videos has been produced featuring a girl football player, a young entrepreneur, young aid worker/rescuer and a writer sharing their experiences of breaking stereotypes around girls` participation in different aspects of life.
200 student representatives from different universities as well as youth volunteers discussed the role of women in society, politics and sport with government Ministers, Members of Parliament, diplomats, and other public figures and with some of the young girls who participated in the campaign.
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, UNICEF teaches young footballers – about 1000 girl footballers, aged 10 to 21 have been reached - healthy lifestyles, delivers basic life skills and information on child rights, and works with youngsters to help them communicate them to their peers, families and community members.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.