SOLOMON ISLANDS! Numbu Training Course concluded on a high note with the presentation of equipment and speeches from the chief of the community, church Pastor and the Head Teacher of the school. 20 participants participated in the training. New Just Play trainers were also a part of the training course with Chris Asipara as the instructor for the two days. The community of Numbu in Guadalcanal must be acknowledged for their support for the program and being excellent hosts to the JP team. Tagio tumas to the Australian Government, New Zealand Government, Football Federation Australia, UEFA Children’s Foundation, UNICEF Pacific, OFC and SIFF for your contributions and continuous support towards the Just Play Programme in Solomon Islands.

Just Play extends reach in Fiji

The OFC Just Play Programme continues to grow and inspire in Fiji, with the Nasinu district preparing their launch of the programme following a Just Play course at Rishikul Primary School this week.

Fiji Just Play Project Manager Lavenia Yalovi was very proud to see the programme reach another district and is feeling confident about the rollout of the programme after working with the enthusiastic course participants.

“A total of 19 teachers and three volunteers from 10 schools and communities around Nasinu attended the two day Just Play course at Rishikul Primary school last week,” she said.

“All the participants were confident to promote healthy lifestyles, encourage social inclusion, encourage gender participation and set the right conditions for children to have a first positive experience in physical activity with just play.”

The Sport for Development programme was first launched in Fiji in 2010 and since then it has seen success in schools and communities throughout the country by training local teachers and volunteers and empowering them to lead the programme.

Further North in Fiji’s Cakaudrove Province, Losena Tituwere recently joined Just Play as a volunteer and after leading Just Play sessions in her village, Naboutini, Tituwere has become a strong advocate for the programme.

“I joined Just Play in April during the Savusavu Just Play Course because I love working with children. I work as a social welfare officer and when we would visit communities we normally focused our awareness on adults and had never used games before to deliver social messages to children,” she said.

“Before participating in the Just Play Programme I was a shy girl and usually afraid to talk to a crowd let alone a group of children. Just Play really changed my life, now I am confident to stand in front of a crowd.

“I feel great every time I am assigned to go to communities for work as I am able to speak in front of others and I’m also able to involve children in fun games and activities with messages related to my work scope as well.”

The OFC Just Play Programme was developed and implemented by the OFC Social Responsibility department alongside key partners the Australian Government, New Zealand Government, UEFA Foundation for Children, Football Federation Australia and UNICEF.

New ambassadors embrace #ENDviolence

Awareness of #ENDviolence continues to spread across the Pacific with another batch of young ambassadors joining in the campaign to put an end to gender-based violence in the Pacific.

Last night Football Federation Samoa welcomed each of the teams and officials participating in the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship to Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia for the #ENDviolence launch.

In collaboration with UNICEF, the Oceania Football Confederation has called on football role-models from across the region to become ambassadors for a campaign which aims to develop respect, understanding and tolerance among girls and boys, women and men, and the community as a whole.

Keynote speakers included Reverend Senetenari Autagavaia, UNICEF Pacific representative Tupe Aumua-Esera and FFS President Laupama Solomona.

Autagavaia said, as a former family court lawyer in New Zealand the campaign touches close to home which is why he was happy to endorse and support it.

Aumua-Esera said sports, like football, offer a unique platform through which critical information on #ENDviolence can be disseminated.

“Ending violence is against women and children with programmes like OFC Just Play and UNICEF is just one campaign reaching out to future sports stars like yourselves to help spread the message,” she told the young internationals before her.

Studies indicate that the physical, emotional and monetary costs of abuse are massive. Within the Pacific region, around 80 per cent of children have experienced some form of direct violence or abuse.
Evidence shows that 57 per cent of women in the South Pacific have been violently harmed by their partner, and that a girl who witnesses the abuse of her mother is more likely to become a victim of violence herself when she grows up.

In an area of the world where access to information is restricted by poor internet, television and radio penetration, the #ENDviolence campaign seeks to create awareness, create sporting champions who will speak up against violence and support broader community awareness towards women and children throughout the region.

Solomona encouraged the young women present to keep talking about this issue among their friends and family upon their return.

“With your help we can increase awareness of this important issue. which effects people just like you across the Pacific,” he said.

“And hopefully together we can make a difference and one day put an end violence against women and girls for good.”

NZ Prime Minister visits Just Play Festival

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Hon. Bill English and Minister of Pacific Peoples, Hon. Alfred Ngaro were welcomed onto Victoria Park by CIFA President, Mr. Lee Harmon and Just Play Project Manager, Michelle Paiti to this month’s popular Village Festival on Tuesday.

A much hyped up occasion to look forward to not only for the many children and parents who attended but for the CIFA staff members who stood out in their green Just Play tees.

Prior to Hon. Bill English’s arrival over 250 children from around the islands flocked onto Victoria Park ready to rock out the Village Festival with the various sporting codes, Athletics, Netball, Badminton, Rugby, Cricket, Gymnastics and Soccer on hand to display to the days special guest.

Overwhelmed with the attendance from the children, Michelle Paiti beamed with excitement and no doubt a proud moment and opportunity to showcase to the NZ Prime Minister and his delegation just how their aid programme is assisting the development of our children here in the Cook Islands, as part of the funding for the Just Play Programme is supported by NZ Aid Programme.

“It is great to see the many children and the support from the parents in attending Tuesday’s special Village Festival”, say Michelle.

“I believe that they loved the occasion with the opportunity to see up close and even speak with the Prime Minister and his delegation”.  The children’s response were certainly impressive as they did not shy away and fully embraced their moments”, says Paiti.

In our community we have huge health issue especially with obesity and diabetes and this is one way to get our children started in the healthier path and as agreed by Hon. Bill English who believes in keeping active for a better lifestyle, a very important concept to have in mind.

The NZ Prime Minister tried his hand at cricket only to be run out by the little one who were fielding much to the laughter of onlookers before making his way around the field to chat and participate in a number of activities.

Kicking around the the 6 year old category with a small sided soccer match, he opted to be the goalkeeper, blocking a number of attempts at goal by the keen footballers.

A part of the rotation system were two booths for the Ministry of Internal Affairs who spoke about Respect, Acceptance and Inclusion while the Ministry of Health presented a grilling image on an number of favorite beverages and its number of teaspoons of sugar it contains and how important it is to always drink water, eat fruits and vegetables and be physically active.

Before departing to his next meeting the NZ Prime Minister and Hon. Alfred Ngaro were presented with a small gift from Just Play and a photo op with Mr. Lee Harmon, Michelle Paiti and Eddie Drollett.

We would like to say a huge MEITAKI MAATA to all our partners from their contributions to what was a very successful day.

Just Play is a programme fully funded by the New Zealand Government, Australia Government, Football Federation of Australia, UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF.