16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign in Tajikistan concludes with “Orange Ball” girls football tournament
The closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism campaign and the final match of the “Orange Ball” girls futsal tournament (a modified form of soccer, with five players per side) were held in Dushanbe on 10 December with the support of the Spotlight Initiative programme in Tajikistan in partnership with the Tajik Professional Futsal League.
The ceremony included speeches from Zarrina Abdulmainzoda, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Women and Family Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan; Sezin Sinanoglu, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Tajikistan; Marilyn Josefson, EU Ambassador to Tajikistan; Abdullo Soqiev, Head of the Women’s Football League of Tajikistan; Tahmina Saminova, General Director of Rakhsh Taxi 3333; and Bonukhon Azimova, Deputy Director-General of Closed joint-stock company CJSC “Obi Zulol”.
“Today we celebrate International Human Rights Day, and the theme is ‘Equality’,” said Sinanoglu in her opening remarks. “We don’t have to all look the same, speak the same, or act the same, but we all should have the same opportunities, same chances in our personal and professional lives and the same rights, regardless of who we are and what we do.”
The “Orange Ball” national futsal tournament was held among 224 girls aged 13–17 years old, with regional and national-level games. Its key mission was to encourage more girls to engage in sports, particularly futsal while encouraging equal opportunities and breaking gender-based stereotypes.
In the final match, the Khatlon team won 4-1 over the J. Rasulov team, with the Regar Tadaz team earning a bronze-medal win over the Farkhor team.
“At the national level, the futsal tournament among women’s teams was held for the first time and we can say that the Spotlight Initiative in Tajikistan contributed to making history by establishing the national women's futsal tournament,” noted Furkat Ahmedjanov, Director of Futsal League of Tajikistan.
All tournament participants received high-quality athletic apparel kits and sports accessories to motivate them to participate further. Players with higher performance levels will have an opportunity to play for the Tajik National Team in the Central Asian Football Association tournament in 2022.
Another highlight of the event was a mobile theater show performed by Youth Peer Education Network volunteers, promoting the idea of a life free from gender-based and domestic violence.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. Over 50 organizations of all types in almost every region of Tajikistan participated in the campaign in 2021 through more than 90 events of various types and scales, covering at least a quarter a million people. This year’s campaign objectives were to facilitate dialogue and action, change attitudes, reduce gender-based stereotypes and highlight joint progress.
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Tajikistan, which will be implemented by December 2022, is that women and girls enjoy their right to a life free of violence. The programme will contribute to the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence by responding to the needs of women and girls and by addressing the underlying causes of violence against women and girls using a multi-sectoral and intersectional approach.