Fighting violence through sports

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THE US, Australia and Papua New Guinea have decided to address gender-based issues in the country together.
The initiative to promote an end to violence against women through a sports campaign started when the US ambassador at large for Global Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell, Australia’s ambassador for women and girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, and PNG representatives launched the partnership agreement.
“We have a lot of focus to try to help many young girls and women going forward as many of them around the world fall victims to higher rate of violence, human immune viruses, early marriages, early child-bearing and many other negative factors,” Russell said.
She said there were many factors that were pushing on them, hindering their lives.
Russell said that everyone in the international community was trying to do something better for their women and girls.
“We are all committed to do some work for all women and girls and we are going to have a lot of great attention on those in Papua New Guinea,” she said.
The End Violence Campaign which Australia and US are funding, will be highlighted throughout the women’s under-20 soccer  World Cup  and after the tournament ends through legacy programmes run in  communities, schools and through other sporting events.
“We want to take advantage of these opportunities to highlight the power that sports can have in the lives of young women and girls and to look at ways that we can combat gender-based violence and keep girls in schools as well as helping women in the country as a whole,” Russell said.
Russell said the US decided to work with the government of Australia and PNG to use the year-long programme to address issues.
Meanwhile, Despoja was in the country to undertake an Equal Playing Field programme aimed at advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality in our region.
Her visit coincided with the World  Cup and promotes an end to violence through sports.
Despoja and  Russell met with students of Philip Aravure Primary School yesterday at Gerehu Stage Three.
They were involved in the programme, which promotes respectful relationships and gender equality.

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