80 athletes participated in CAF's gender equality program in Paraguay

October 02, 2023

The "Campeonas. Con la Camiseta puesta por la igualdad" (Champions. Wearing our shirts for equality) program was successfully completed, fostering the inclusion of small and teenage girls in soccer and equal opportunities in Paraguay.

The "Campeonas program aimed to foster the inclusion of small and teenage girls in soccer and encourage equal opportunities in Paraguay, coming to an end on Monday, October 2.

The National Sports Ministry Complex was the venue for the closing of this project that benefited 80 athletes from four clubs in Paraguay. CAF—development bank of Latin America and the Caribbean—sponsored this plan, which included activities to foster women's empowerment, encourage healthy practices, and achieve inclusive development through sports.

"We drive this project based on the pillars of development and inclusion, which are core values of CAF and for society as a whole." I congratulate the talented participants of this project and encourage them to continue practicing this sport. Football is a very powerful tool for breaking down stereotypes and inequalities," said CAF's Southern Regional Manager Jorge Srur.

Furthermore, Sports Minister César Ramírez praised the initiative and stressed that it is a suitable space to give visibility to female participation in high-performance competitions in soccer and in other sports.

"I happily welcome the promotion of these venues that bring us much closer to an equitable and egalitarian society, with opportunities for soccer players and all female athletes in our nation," said the Sports Minister.

Since June of this year, players from soccer clubs Olimpia, Cerro Porteño, Libertad Limpeño, and Sport Kuetuvy de Canindeyú have participated in a training program consisting of three modules: socio-emotional and leadership skills; communication skills; equal treatment and comprehensive health and nutrition.

Furthermore, another goal of this program was building the capacities of the technical and managerial teams of the clubs. Consequently, they were also included in the training workshops organized by CAF and partner institutions.

"This project was conceived to help eliminate all types of discrimination against girls and women, especially in an environment that has been traditionally reserved for males, while women still participate on an unequal basis. "We set out to come up with forums that foster integration, solidarity, and sisterhood," stressed Ana Baiardi, Gender, Inclusion, and Diversity Manager at CAF.

Other issues developed in the plan's sessions included sports nutrition, expression and communication, and violence prevention, with the participation of female athletes and representatives from each club and their communities.

"This is the first step, and we know that there is still work to be done, and that they should receive comprehensive training constantly." With "Campeonas," in addition to providing physical training, we became aware of the importance of contributing to the emotional development of each individual. We encourage them to keep playing, to keep training, and to break down stereotypes and prejudices, and to that end, we also need to lay the foundations for the clubs and the community around them to constantly support and promote them," added the CAF representative.

To implement this program, CAF partnered with the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), with the support of the National Sports Ministry (SND).

Jorge Srur, Ana Baiardi, and CAF Gender Coordinator Guadalupe Aguirre participated in the closing ceremony. Representing government agencies, National Sports Minister César Ramírez and Paraguay's First Lady Mrs. Leticia Ocampos were also present at the event. Also noteworthy was the presence of Childhood and Adolescence Minister Walter Gutiérrez; Deputy Minister of Equality and Non-Discrimination Sonia Brucke; Vice Minister of Women's Rights Protection Silvia Blasco, and Public Defense Minister Lorena Segovia, among other national authorities and sports clubs. The First Lady of Paraguay, Leticia Ocampos, presented the certificates and gifts to the athletes who participated in the program.

The initiative was part of the activities advanced by the CAF Strategy for Gender Equality, which aims to foster equal opportunities and the empowerment of women throughout the region.