22 March 2016, Karachi - The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in close collaboration with the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Girls Sports Society, organised a football tournament in Karachi as part of their awareness campaign with the youth of the country to raise voice for better water, better jobs in celebration of the World Water Day 2016 and its theme “Water and Jobs”.
The tournament was an excellent platform to motivate the young footballers from various universities of Karachi to raise their voice for better water, better jobs. The Semi-Finals of the tournament were held between IBA, NUST, IoBM, and Sir Syed University on 21 March 2016. NUST and Sir Syed University reached the finals where Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) defeated National University of Science and Technology (NUST) PNEC and claimed the prize. A formal dinner for the finalists was arranged and they were sensitized regarding the importance of World Water Day and its message and were urged to take measures in their personal capacity and as an institution. Meanwhile, a selfie contest was initiated for the wider audience to give social media coverage to the cause through which the students demonstrated their support by using the exclusive hashtag (#WaterforPakistan) for the event. The event also gained considerable recognition from the media sector. Surveys were also conducted before and after the matches to gauge the willingness of the young people to pay for safe drinking water and various speeches were delivered to disseminate the World Water Day messages.
A representative from UN-Habitat said that, “provision of safe drinking water is Sustainable Development Goal 6 and it is a core part of UN-Habitat’s mandate. Access to water is extremely significant, but the quality of water cannot be ignored. It must be ensured that accessible water meets safety standards and does not negatively impact the lives of the people. UN-Habitat Pakistan has implemented various projects for water, sanitation, and hygiene and continues to spend time, effort, and resources to spread awareness and bring a positive change in the lives of the Pakistani people.”
Ms. Faiza Shafqat, Manager IBA Girls Sports Society, while commenting about the World Water Day said, “It is extremely critical that the youth of Pakistan realize the issue of unavailability of safe drinking water as they can be the catalysts in this awareness movement to spread the message to a wider community. I can already think of ways in which we can contribute to the water industry and improve conditions for people whose lives depend on it, the youth has the power to not just trigger change, but ensure its effective delivery.”
Mr. Usama Butt, Member NUST Football Team, appreciated the awareness campaign and said, “I'd like to appreciate the efforts done by UN-Habitat and partners to bring in the youth and create awareness for such a huge cause. I'll be more careful when using water from now on and so should everyone else. It's one of the blessings we take for granted. Events like these should be conducted more often in order to spread the word and help people understand the need for it.”
World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others, and take action to make a difference. Water for Pakistan Football Tournament was a platform to engage youth to serve as facilitators in spreading awareness about the importance of safe drinking water and willingness to pay for it.