For several months now, thousands of local residents have been gathering in the streets of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby every Sunday to attend the ‘Walk for Life’. This health initiative was launched by city governor Powes Parkop to coincide with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2016.
When scores of people once again woke up at the break of dawn on 20 November to meet at 5.00 am, they were joined by a high-profile supporter. England international and three-time FIFA Women’s World Cup™ participant Alex Scott walked with hundreds of boys and girls to mark Universal Children’s Day and the 70th anniversary of UNICEF.
"Many thanks to everyone who has made me so welcome at this ‘Walk of Life’,” the FIFA legend said at the event’s finishing point at Ela Beach. “I really enjoyed it. I’ll be here for a few days yet, and I’m looking forward to seeing as much of your wonderful country as possible."
The Arsenal Ladies captain, who has already won more than 100 international caps for England, then presented Governor Parkop with a national team shirt. “Many thanks for this, and thank you to everyone who joined us today,” he said enthusiastically. “My wish is for a healthy and safe city. Dear parents, look out for your children; after all, they are our future."
David Chung, President of the Papua New Guinea Football Association, previously expressed his admiration for the ‘Walk for Life’ health initiative, saying: “Women’s football is developing at a remarkable rate. This programme offers women and girls an ideal opportunity to become accustomed to a healthier lifestyle and get involved in football either as players or in another capacity. Hosting the U-20 Women’s World Cup should inspire women in countries like Papua New Guinea and enable them to combat gender-based prejudice and discrimination."
Together with its partners from the Oceanian Football Confederation (OFC), UNICEF, UN Women, the Urban Youth Employment Project, the Australian High Commission and the US Embassy in Port Moresby, FIFA is focusing on a series of core activities between now and the end of the tournament on 3 December. All of these events – including the #ENDviolence campaign, which aims to generate respect, mutual understanding and tolerance between both boys and girls and women and men – seek to leave a lasting and tangible legacy and help lower risk factors for gender-related violence in the Pacific region.