Just Play Program Seeks to Address Cross-Cutting Issues

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The local coordinators of the Just Play Programme training workshop at the SIFF football academy in Honiara.

BY ESTHER NURIA

CHILD survival, education, gender equality, water, sanitation, and hygiene, child protection and social inclusion and emergency are the core areas which the OFC Just Play Programme training workshop aims to address for children and youths in the Solomon Islands, according to Mrs. Mariah Rarawa.

The training is the objective of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) recently funded Just Play Programme workshop, organized by the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) for eighteen (18) local football coordinators.

The five-day capacity-building workshop training was held from 21 to 22 February at the Rock Heaven Inn in Honiara. It attracted participants from Malaita, Temotu, Ulawa, Choiseul, Western and Isabel to attend the annual event for coordinators before the rollout of the Just Play Programme in their regions for 2020.

Solomon Islands Just Play Program Manager, Mrs. Mariah Rarawa said the capacity-building workshop will help the coordinators to develop a shared understanding of what it means to be a coordinator with the Just Play Programme in the Solomon Islands.

“The respective coordinators are expected to define roles and responsibilities of a coordinator, importance of reporting, strengthen understanding of monitoring & evaluation processes and procedures, and enhance the collection of programming data, quality of reporting and the collection of stories of change.

“The completed reports compiled by the coordinators will be given directly to OFC and later they handover it the donor partners.

“The Just Play program was an ongoing capacity building workshop for the Coordinators in the provinces. SIFF believed the coordinators need to be properly trained on the part of monitoring and data collection, before the role out of the program in their respective provinces.

“SIFF aims to develop this shared knowledge and understanding between the respective new football coordinators in the country. It is important that new coordinators of the program to understand their roles and responsibility in their respective regions through the Just Play program,” said Mrs. Rarawa,” Mrs. Rarawa added.

The Solomon Islands Just Play Program Manager described the Just Play Programme as an important tool to develop children playing football in the country.

“Previously since the inception of the Just Play program in 2010, I have found out that over the years monitoring and evaluation were a weak part of our program especially in the Solomon Islands. To strengthen this we need to bring the Coordinators together to capacity building, before launching them out. And not only to capacity build them but also to prepare them with the right tools and resources that much needed to assist them in their sporting,” said Mrs. Rarawa.

Through the OFC Just Play Programme children and adolescents are empowered to advocate as agents for change, supporting the development of positive behavior practices and the enhancement of resilience among their peers and community.

The Programme seeks to address the following primary areas:

• Child Survival— by reducing the risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, and engaging children and adolescents on a range of health issues;

• Education— by facilitating the development of important life skills applicable both on and off the field, including the acceptance of rules, decision-making, teamwork, respect and play;

• Gender Equality— by changing perceptions towards women and girls, and creating pathways to empower women and girls to realize their human right;

• Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)—by supporting the development of positive WASH behaviors and practices in schools, communities and in times of emergencies;

• Child Protection and Social Inclusion—by challenging harmful social norms and stereotypes, and creating pathways to empower those disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, identity or ability to realize their human rights; and

• Emergency— by building resilience and supporting the emotional recovery of children and adolescents following natural disasters and conflict.

She added that as a Program Manager, her target is to reach all the provincial centres in the Solomon Islands with the Just Play program.

“And for this year, the three new provinces taken on board the Just Play program were Choiseul, Temotu and Makira province. While for this year itself; the Just play program will carry out 15 training courses which means we will double the number of training courses scheduled for every year since the program’s inception in 2010,” Mrs. Rarawa said.

Just Play is an award-winning Sport for Development Programme using the power of football to improve the lives of children aged 6-18-years throughout the Pacific.

It recognizes the important role that sport can play in supporting the holistic development of children and adolescents. This sport-based programme the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) uses as a critical intervention alongside football development at regional and national levels.

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.

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