International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The national rugby teams of Georgia and Samoa unite to fight violence against women

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016

In front of 27 000 fans at the Mikheil Meskhi stadium the national rugby teams of Georgia and Samoa expressed their support to the United Nations Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign.

Children and Georgian and Samoan national rugby team players united for the UNiTE campaign. Mikheil Meskhi stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia; Photo: UN Women/Maka Gogaladze
The Samoan rugby team has followed the Georgian national team’s example in actively joining the cause by expressing their support to the UNiTE campaign.

Alama Ieremia, head coach of the Samoan rugby team appeared at the pre-match press conference in a UNiTE branded t-shirt: “Our relations with the Georgian rugby team started in June, 2016. As the after math we also got involved in the campaign. We share similar values, and are conscientious with regard to our responsibilities. It is a great honor for us to take part in the match devoted to the fight against violence against women and girls”.


Milton Haig, head coach of the Georgian national rugby team, who always supports and is engaged in UN Women’s activities devoted to the cause of ending violence against women and girls underlined: It is a great honor for us to support the UNiTE campaign, we have been supporting the generous aim for years. For me as for a husband and farther it is of paramount importance to be involved in the campaign. We as a team are to reach out to everyone. We will do our best to achieve this aim.”


Thousands watching Georgia vs Samoa international test match devoted to the UNiTE campaign. Mikheil Meskhi stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia; Photo: UN Women/Maka Gogaladze
The match ended with the victory of Georgia, score - 20:16 and at the same time Levan Chalichava has earned the man of the match award and has been granted a prize on behalf of the UNiTE campaign by Irina Japharidze, UN Women Programme Analyst.

Georgian rugby players have a long-standing partnership with UN Women in the framework of the UN Joint programme for gender equality (funded by the Government of Sweden and implemented by UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA). This cooperation is aimed at increasing men’s engagement in the fight against violence against women and girls. The rugby team Lelos, have devoted several international matches to this cause under the aegis of the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign as well as the UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality – HeforShe. In addition, the Lelos travel throughout Georgia to meet with local men and boys and speak to them about the inadmissibility of violence against women and girls.