The rollout of Just Play training for 2021 is well and truly underway in the Solomon Islands with Auki, in Malaita Province, enjoying a week immersed in the sport for development programme.

Solomon Islands Just Play Trainer Vanessa Kausimae travelled to the provincial capital to run two training courses covering both the 6-12-year curriculum and the 13-18-year Sport to Life curriculum as well as an end of training festival.

With assistance from Malaita-Auki Coordinator Danny Belo, 30 participants were trained across the two courses, encompassing 11 schools and two communities.

Kausimae said she found the reaction of the participants encouraging, with their discussions an indication of how well they understood the programme content.

“Without much effort, through group and individual activities, I can see that each one had a sense of realisation that it is more than just football, but an avenue where issues in their province can be addressed,” she said.

“The objectives we have put in place from these trainings are that the teachers and community volunteers will start implementing what they have learned, and in the course of doing so, we hope to not only hear of their progress but to see in their reports once the sessions have been completed, the impact of the programme. We also hope to receive stories of change.”

Feedback from participants was equally positive, especially among teachers who are looking forward to implementing the sessions in their classes.

“This was a big impact on our current knowledge of football and I’m confident that this should boost our performance when we return to our schools to implement it,” said 6-12-year course participant Ruth Asilaua, of Kilusakwalo School.

Rocky Sade, a teacher at Auki Community High, said the 13-18-year programme changed his perspective.

“Even for a teacher, I learned so many new things that schools are not teaching to the young people today, life skills that are vital for any young person today and for the future.”

The two training courses ran consecutively over five days and were rounded out with a festival encompassing the two age groups on Saturday.

“We had a great turnout for the festival,” Kausimae said.

“The venue was split in half to cater for each age group. The 6-12 children had six stations each with session key messages from their Health and WASH programme guide, aided by fun games where the children complete six circuits, spending 8-10 minutes on each station.”

For the 13-18 festival, gender-balanced teams were created from the attendees who then took part in fun football matches.

The matches were inclusive of key social and Sport to Life messages from the programme guide, shared during the warms up in the team huddles, and again at the end.

“It was a fun-filled day and apart from some children who had come with their teachers or community volunteers, word continued to spread throughout the morning.

“Children kept turning up from nearby communities, and the festival itself ran for about two hours with everyone enjoying themselves, and parents seen around the venue too.”

Kausimae said her key message for the participants now is implementation.

“To be faithful to putting to everything they have learned into practice, to become role models themselves, to work alongside their coordinator on the ground, and to be timely and accurate in their reporting.”

The training courses were held at the Malaita Provincial Assembly Conference Room, and the festival at Aligegeo School Field.

The participants represented the following schools and communities:

Gwaigeo School
Kilusakwalo School and Community
Gwaiako School
St. Paul Kindergarten
Alota’a School
Laulana School
Aimela School
Auki Primary School
Town End School
Bitakaula School
Ambu-Sinasu School/Community
Lilisian Community
Auki Community High School
Asiko Extension School/Community
Fiu Community