The final match of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy tournament held on Sunday 23 June in Birmingham, UK was dedicated to the THINK WISE HIV awareness campaign - a partnership between the International Cricket Council (ICC), UNAIDS and UNICEF that uses the power of cricket and cricket players to reach out to large numbers of people - particularly young people - on AIDS issues.
The final also marked the ten year partnership between ICC and UNAIDS, whose joint work commenced in 2003. UNICEF joined the partnership in 2006 and in 2009 the three partners initiated the THINK WISE awareness campaign.
As England and India battled out the 2013 Champions Trophy final at the Edgbaston stadium, THINK WISE was promoted throughout the stadium via public service broadcasts, boundary banners, promotional leaflets and through the special Final commemorative match programme, also dedicated to the 10-year AIDS partnership.
Noting the success of the 2013 Champions Trophy THINK WISE activities, ICC President Alan Isaac said, “It brings me great pleasure that the ICC’s partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF is flourishing. Through the THINK WISE initiative, we are sending a message to the world about the importance of getting the facts about HIV and stopping stigma towards people living with HIV.”
The THINK WISE campaign, which emphasizes the key messages ‘Get the facts about HIV; Protect yourself; Stop stigma’ has been profiled throughout the 2013 Champions Trophy with dedicated matches, site visits and coaching clinics with the players and other promotional activities. During the final game both teams as well as match officials and ICC and staff from the English Cricket Board wore red ribbons to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding people living with HIV.
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and Governance, Jan Beagle, attended the final. She walked out on the pitch with the teams for the National Anthems, together with the ICC President, the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board and two representatives of people living with HIV, to show solidarity with people around the globe living with HIV.
Commending the ICC on its commitment to AIDS awareness Ms Beagle said, “I am moved to see the dedication of the ICC and cricket players to promoting HIV prevention and reaching zero discrimination for people living with HIV. UNAIDS firmly believes in the ability of the THINK WISE partnership to be a powerful force for change, for more equitable and inclusive societies - within the ICC family, in communities and across countries.”
As at previous ICC international cricket tournaments, throughout the Champions Trophy international players from a selection of teams took time out to take part in THINK WISE coaching clinics and site visits. For example, the West Indies and New Zealand teams welcomed school children from London and Cardiff to special coaching sessions where they learned valuable cricketing tips and exchanged information on HIV prevention and stigma. Members of the England and South African international teams visited the Terrence Higgins Trust where they met with people living with HIV and some team members opted to take rapid HIV tests.