UNFPA and partners mark the end of the pilot project on preventing gender-biased sex selection in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 31 May 2018 – Final conference of “Preventing Sex Selection Abortions: Men Are Here Too for Gender Equality!” pilot project funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands Kingdom was attended by state partners, civil society members, media and diplomats. The one-year project was implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan Republic, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of Azerbaijan Republic, State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs.

The main objective of the project was promoting the value and emphasizing the role of girls in society through advocacy activities involving young males and fathers. During the project lifetime through information sessions and public events implementing partners capitalised on raising awareness on gender equality, promoting the value of girl child and enhancing emotional ties between fathers and daughters.

To that end, trainers reached about 1400 young males in 29 cities and regions of Azerbaijan. The topics such as exploring gender roles, combating gender stereotypes, work share in family were presented to target audience.

In addition, to complement the strategic interventions aimed at addressing the issue of the gender-biased sex selection (GBSS) a grassroots advocacy campaign in the regions was initiated to engage faith-based groups and local community leaders in the efforts to address the phenomenon. Highlighting the advancement of women rights and covering about 1700 beneficiaries, information sessions were organized in 40 mosques of various cities of Azerbaijan.

During the first week of July last year capacity building workshop for journalist writing about gender-biased sex selection was organized in Baku. As a result of the workshop competition for best journalistic work covering gender-biased sex selection and consequences was announced.

Moreover, to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, project strove to increase efficiency of message dissemination among wider audience via advocacy events. UNFPA in cooperation with state and non-government partners organised “Fathers and Daughters Festival” in the downtown Baku and Ganja. The aim of the open-air festival was to reinforce the father’s crucial role in empowering a girl child. Festival’s agenda included a number of activities for fathers and daughters to spend time together, to take care of each other.

To mark International Women’s Day, project holders filmed public services announcements (PSA) with the participation of famous male athletes who cited one after another an empowering poem to support and inspire girl children. Rafael Aghayev, Ilham Zakiyev, Rovshan Bayramov and other prominent sportsmen portrayed fathers affirming daughters for their future lives. Titled “The life is much better when you are in it!”, PSA was posted in social media.

UNFPA is particularly concerned about this problem, as it directly relates to reproductive health and population matters, as well as the dynamics of gender relations.

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