Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Kosovo Football Federation takes stand against gender-based violence in decisive football match ahead of the 16 Days of Activism

Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Campaign slogans on pitchside LED billboards during match. Photo: UN Kosovo Team
Campaign slogans on pitchside LED billboards during match. Photo: UN Kosovo Team

On Tuesday, 20 November, not only did Kosovo’s Football Team get one step closer to qualify for the 2020 European Football Championship, it also took a stand to end gender-based violence targeting women and girls. In the decisive match contending for the top of the group and promotion in the UEFA Nations League, Kosovo played Azerbaijan and won the home game –4:0.

Kosovo Football Federation joining the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. Photo: UN Kosovo team
Kosovo Football Federation joining the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. Photo: UN Kosovo Team

The stadium was packed with 13,000 spellbound fans and many more tuning in via TV to follow this first-of-a-kind game. In collaboration with UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme, before kick-off, the Kosovo Football Federation announced its commitment to join the global 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign. The Federation screened the campaign video, showcasing public figures calling for an end to violence, with the match moderator urging fans to take a stand against violence targeting women and girls.

Throughout the 90-minute match, different 16 Days campaign related messages to end violence against women and girls, to report it, to seek help through the available helpline, and to be united against violence were displayed pitch-side on illuminated billboards. These highly visible ‘calls to action’ were featured in many photos taken during the match.

Ulrika Richardson, UN Development Coordinator, in the broadcasted video in the stadium. Photo: UN Kosovo Team
Ulrika Richardson, UN Development Coordinator, in the broadcasted video in the stadium. Photo: UN Kosovo Team

Like any sport, football involves a mix of passion, pride, and adrenaline that can be used to celebrate a win, but can also trigger violence. Research shows that violence against women and girls spikes after crucial matches. Cooperation like this, with sports associations, serves an important prevention factor, by raising awareness and sending a powerful message to fans, especially young people, many of whom see footballers as role models.

Ms. Ulrika Richardson, the UN Development Coordinator said: “we are thankful to the Football Federation of Kosovo for joining us in the 16 Days of Activism on violence against women and girls campaign! Domestic Violence is not a private matter, but a public wrong and crime, against which we should all stand together”.

Meanwhile, the Federation’s President, Agim Ademi, called on everyone to “report cases of violence they experience or witness, so that this violation of fundamental human rights stops”.