Social media campaign uses football to raise awareness of gender-based violence01 June 2015

Asocialmediacampaignisencouragingtheuseandpracticeoffootballasawaytoraiseawarenessandmoneytoputanendtoviolenceagainstwomenandgirls.

Play it Forward is a Canadian initiative, started by the Vancouver-based advocate and The Power in Sport founder Linda Diano, using the FIFA Women’s World Cup momentum to campaign against gender-based violence.

The campaign follows the model of last year’s ground-breaking ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and is asking supporters of the campaign to play football for 20 minutes and 15 seconds and share the experience on social media. Participants should take a selfie, add a message calling for the end of violence against women, and upload it on social media using the hashtags #2015in2015 and #PlayItForward, challenging three more friends to do the same.

Linda Diano said: “I’d like to see this go viral,

“The opportunity is for girls and women, and boys and men who support girls and women, to get their football ball, grab a friend, and just play a pick-up game of soccer…and call for the end of violence!”

Participants are also asked to consider donating to organisations that help victims of violence against women, such as the Battered Women’s Support Services and the Monarch Place Transition House.

The campaign kicks-off today and will run until 5 July, the day of the 2015 Women’s World Cup final in Vancouver.

“The Women’s World Cup is more than just about soccer; it’s about sending a message of hope to girls and women around the world,” explained Diano, adding that as soon as she heard that the World Cup was being host in Canada, she knew it would be a good opportunity to foster positive change.

The month-long Play it Forward campaign hopes to reach its climax on June 28, a day Diano is calling the international Play it Forward day.

A number of football clubs and organisations in India, Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia, Mali and Canada, have already committed to participating in the 2015 challenge.

“It’s exciting to see the vibrancy of the message in different cultures,” Diano concluded.