Awareness of #ENDviolence continues to spread across the Pacific with another batch of young ambassadors joining in the campaign to put an end to gender-based violence in the Pacific.
Last night Football Federation Samoa welcomed each of the teams and officials participating in the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship to Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia for the #ENDviolence launch.
In collaboration with UNICEF, the Oceania Football Confederation has called on football role-models from across the region to become ambassadors for a campaign which aims to develop respect, understanding and tolerance among girls and boys, women and men, and the community as a whole.
Keynote speakers included Reverend Senetenari Autagavaia, UNICEF Pacific representative Tupe Aumua-Esera and FFS President Laupama Solomona.
Autagavaia said, as a former family court lawyer in New Zealand the campaign touches close to home which is why he was happy to endorse and support it.
Aumua-Esera said sports, like football, offer a unique platform through which critical information on #ENDviolence can be disseminated.
“Ending violence is against women and children with programmes like OFC Just Play and UNICEF is just one campaign reaching out to future sports stars like yourselves to help spread the message,” she told the young internationals before her.
Studies indicate that the physical, emotional and monetary costs of abuse are massive. Within the Pacific region, around 80 per cent of children have experienced some form of direct violence or abuse.
Evidence shows that 57 per cent of women in the South Pacific have been violently harmed by their partner, and that a girl who witnesses the abuse of her mother is more likely to become a victim of violence herself when she grows up.
In an area of the world where access to information is restricted by poor internet, television and radio penetration, the #ENDviolence campaign seeks to create awareness, create sporting champions who will speak up against violence and support broader community awareness towards women and children throughout the region.
Solomona encouraged the young women present to keep talking about this issue among their friends and family upon their return.
“With your help we can increase awareness of this important issue. which effects people just like you across the Pacific,” he said.
“And hopefully together we can make a difference and one day put an end violence against women and girls for good.”