On June 7th, Saathi and the All-Nepal Football Association (ANFA) renewed their partnership agreement, solidifying their joint campaign against gender-based violence. The campaign carries the powerful slogan “Our Collective Goal: Ending Violence Against Women and Children.” This collaboration recognizes the widespread popularity of football in Nepal and acknowledges its potential as a platform to effectively promote gender equality and violence prevention to a broader audience.

The primary focus of the renewed agreement is to actively engage men and boys in the campaign against violence faced by women and children. Saathi aims to leverage the influence and impact of male football players to challenge and dismantle harmful gender stereotypes that contribute to such violence. By working together, Saathi and ANFA aspire to create a culture that fosters respect, equality, and non-violence in society and also within the football community.

The partnership between Saathi and ANFA will span three years, during which ANFA will provide Saathi with space and opportunities to spread the message of equality. ANFA, as the governing body of football, will also mobilize influential male figures and officials to encourage and influence football fans and the wider public toward violence-free homes and societies.

Saathi intends to utilize the popularity and reach of football to raise awareness, initiate dialogue, and promote behavioral change. Football events such as matches, tournaments, and championships will serve as platforms for engaging fans, spectators, players, and stakeholders in discussions about gender equality and the importance of preventing violence against women and girls.

To achieve the campaign goals, Saathi and ANFA will implement various strategies. They will organize awareness campaigns, workshops, and seminars specifically aimed at educating and sensitizing football players, coaches, and officials about the significance of gender equality. These efforts aim to cultivate a culture that prioritizes respect, equality, and non-violence within the football community.

Additionally, Saathi will leverage the popularity of male football players as role models to challenge traditional gender norms and stereotypes. By encouraging influential players to actively support the campaign, the partnership seeks to inspire positive behavior change among their fans and the broader public. These efforts will not only contribute to reducing violence against women but also contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

The partnership agreement was signed by Sajani Amatya, the President of Saathi, and Kiran Rai, the General Secretary of ANFA, formalizing their commitment to this joint endeavor. Bandana Rana, the former Chair of Saathi and an expert member at CEDAW, reflected on the effectiveness of this initiative. She highlighted how the campaign, which began in 2011 under the slogan “Our Goal: Stop Violence Against Women,” had successfully brought about behavioral change among men and boys.