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`GameChangers’ winners announced: Supporting girls and women through sport

© UNICEF/KENA00492/Cameron
Girls celebrate their football team’s winning match with a victory dance in Kenya, where a project that helps girls participate fully in sports and in school has won a 2009 ‘GameChangers’ awards.

NEW YORK, USA, 6 May 2009 – For the second consecutive year, UNICEF has supported an online sport-for-development competition organized by Ashoka, an international network of social entrepreneurs, and sponsored by Nike. The winners were announced recently.

This year’s competition, ‘GameChangers: Change the Game for Women in Sport,’ aimed to bring together the next wave of innovators eager to catalyze change for women and girls through sport – and to bring real solutions to troubling, gender-specific social problems.

In March, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman served on the ‘GameChangers’ panel of judges that selected 13 finalists.

Veneman said breaking down barriers for girls and women – including in sport – contributes to social and economic progress and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Sport also teaches important life lessons such as fairness, leadership and teamwork, and builds respect and tolerance, she noted.

Awards to expand projects
Last month, an extensive network of innovators, thought leaders, investors, journalists and enthusiasts made their voices heard by voting online for the ‘GameChangers’ finalists and selecting the three winners:

3 Sisters Adventure Trekking – Nepal. This initiative is training women to be trekking guides, leading to educational and employment opportunities never before known by rural Nepalese women.

Moving the Goalposts – Kenya. The vision of this project is to provide affordable sanitary pads to girls so they can participate fully in sports and in school.

Team-Up for Youth – United States. This programme empowers college-age women to volunteer their time as coaches and role models for girls in low-income communities in California.

The winners will each receive $5,000 to expand their projects. For more information, visit the ‘GameChangers’ website at www.changemakers.net/womeninsport.



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