A total of 40 girls, aged 14 to 17 years old, and their eight coaches gathered recently at the Baku Sports Palace for their first Unified Football training as part of a Special Olympics Azerbaijan-UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) project.
The project, which involves participants from four mainstream and four special schools, aims to promote gender equity using the platform of inclusive sports. In addition, the UNFPA will provide the participants with training, information and resources on gender-based violence.
The football training was led by Jenni Hakkinen, Special Olympics regional manager for youth, schools and universities, and an experienced Unified coach. “It was great to see the girls play together,” said Hakkinen. “There was a lot of energy and talent on the field. I could see friendships beginning to blossom among the players,” she added.