Spain Embraces Guardian Girls Karate Night Reception 🇪🇸

The project was unveiled in Madrid (Spain) by its three global creators, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) and the World Karate Federation (WKF) with the cooperation of the Embassy of Japan in Spain and the Royal Spanish Karate Federation, on the occasion of the 2023 EKF Senior Championships being held in Guadalajara, Spain.

Hosted by Ambassador Takahiro Nakamae, the event was also attended by the head of UNFPA office in London Mr. Matt Jackson, KIF Global President Ms. Nia Lyte, WKF and EKF President Mr. Antonio Espinós, the President of the Spanish Karate Federation Mr. Antonio Moreno, the Deputy Director General for Women and Sport of Spain’s Sports Council Eva Bárbara Fuertes, and the Councillor of Sports of Guadalajara Evaristo Olcina, among other officials.

Ambassador Nakamae said:

“In a current context where we face great challenges at various levels of society, Karate is much more than a sport. This is showcased by the Guardian Girls project. This martial art can be an instrument to protect thousands of women in the world who feel defenceless in the face of multiple manifestations of intimidation. I wish this initiative every success, both in Spain and internationally. And in this way, we will continue to take steps towards a fairer and more equal world.”

Deputy Director General for Women and Sport of Spain’s Sports Council Eva Bárbara Fuertes said:

“When I first heard about this project, I couldn’t but feel enamoured with it, because it gives tremendous value to everything that we are working for day by day. This project represents the perfect symbiosis of synergies among institutions, and this is even more remarkable when the subject at hand is as noble as working for the equality of women. Sports have the capacity of permeabilising, raising awareness in society and in the case of Karate, it provides women with resilience, and self-confidence.”

Council of Sports of Guadalajara Evaristo Olcina said:

“This is a fantastic worldwide project. There are decisions on the part of governments, of municipal coordinating bodies that are tackling this issue while also giving women the role they should have in our society. We believe that the incorporation of women in sports is a great way to empower them and we, in the City of Guadalajara are taking several measures to work in this direction. All best of luck to this project because the world needs initiatives like this one.”

Spanish Karate Federation President Antonio Moreno said:

“We are proud of supporting this initiative and we are sure that this project of KIF, UNFPA and WKF will have a bright future in Spain. We will do our best to make sure that women feel safe because we are convinced that Karate can provide the values that women need, not only from the physical standpoint but also emotionally and psychologically. We hope that this project reaches as many places as possible and that it receives the support it needs to continue growing more and more.”

WKF and EKF President Antonio Espinós said:

“We are convinced that with the Guardian Girls Global Karate Project we can play a key role to improve the situation of women all over the world. This is a long fight, but I think that the contribution of our sport can be very important, that Karate can truly help to reduce Gender-Based Violence. All our efforts are devoted to this initiative, and we will continue working hard to achieve our goals. We believe that Karate’s support for the betterment of society can absolutely make a difference in the world. For that, we decided to join forces with our partners UNFPA and KIF, and for that, we all are here. We can’t thank Ambassador Nakamae enough for his help today and for providing us with the perfect setting to launch this initiative in Spain.”

Head of the UNFPA office in London Matt Jackson said:

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent forms of violence and human rights violations worldwide. It knows no social, economic, or national boundaries. This is why this project is so valuable; it is an example of the cooperation of three different organisations, that contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and especially, to empower women and girls. Karate is a powerful tool to fight against Gender-Based Violence while promoting self-esteem and leadership capabilities. To end Gender-Based Violence we must empower women and girls. We will leave no one behind.”

Nia Lyte, President of KIF said: 

“This is a historic day for all of us and for this project. We are very thrilled to present this programme here in Spain and to achieve another milestone in our cooperation. In 2019 our organisation KIF signed an MoU with UNFPA in New York and that agreement started the Guardian Girls project. In 2022 the WKF and KIF joined forces to empower all vulnerable women worldwide and now we hope that the Guardian Girls Global Karate project will help all the women here in Spain as well.”

The presentation today included a review of the highlights of the programme, which was hosted by the President of KIF Nia Lyte. It also contained a message from KIF co-founder Shin Koyamada who stated KIF’s excitement for launching the programme in Spain. The event was also attended by the first Olympic gold medallist of Karate, Sandra Sanchez. 

 Created by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) and the World Karate Federation (WKF), the Guardian Girls Global Karate Project aims at promoting gender equality and empower women and girls to defend themselves from all forms of Gender-Based Violence through Karate training.