A massive undertaking will kick off in Labasa, this week as the WASH Festivals Tour of Fiji gets underway with the first of more than 15 Just Play Festivals planned across the Northern, Western and Central Districts over the next four weeks.

The WASH Festivals Tour of Fiji takes the Just Play Festival concept of mini-game stations, messaging stations, fun games and football skill sessions and applies the current Just Play curriculum theme WASH; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to help children learn important messages on healthy hand hygiene.

Fiji Football Association Just Play Programme Manager, Lavenia Yalovi, said launching this event, on this scale, is part of the social responsibility programme’s community outreach and engagement, following COVID-19.

“We chose WASH as the theme for these festivals because it’s the new curriculum for the programme, but also for the fact that because of COVID-19, basic messages under the WASH theme are needed across Fiji schools and communities, to refresh and reinforce the messages that WASH entails,” Yalovi said.

“Also, the festivals line up with some important international dates, for example Global Handwashing Day, World Toilet Day and International Children’s Day, so we have modified some of the festivals to tie in messages or themes of these important days.”

Each festival is hoping to engage at last 200 children, with Yalovi expecting that number to potentially grow as word gets out.

“We have taken into account COVID-19 restrictions when planning the festivals, especially the safe sport protocols that are in place in Fiji, so 200 is the number of children we have targeted, but we’re assuming that number will increase,” she said.

Children enjoying a Just Play Festival in Savusavu last month. Credit: OFC/MP

“This Wednesday was planned as a preparation day, but because people are aware that staff are on the ground in Labasa we’ve had requests for two festivals to be run on this day. Fortunately, we have the staff and resources to respond positively to these requests, and I think it’s just the beginning. We expect more demand as we move through Labasa and the northern district this week.”

Further to advocating for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, the festivals are expected to raise the profile of the numerous football development programmes offered by Fiji FA, including Just Play.

“We have a few objectives we would like the festivals to achieve,” Yalovi said, “firstly we would like to spread awareness about the Just Play Programme and what it is all about.

“Secondly, it’s an opportunity to advocate for Fiji FA and the different development programmes and activities it offers.

“Many people think we just deliver football, this is a chance for them to see and experience that Fiji FA is more than football, that there is more than Just Play.”

For a number of stops on the tour, it will certainly be an eye-opening experience with Fiji FA yet to establish activities on these islands and villages.

“Some of the places we are due to visit are places where Fiji Football and Just Play haven’t been before and they will be new to the schools and communities there. For those islands and communities, they may have football but not in a formal way with competitions and basic coaching education. It’s interesting and that’s what we’re looking forward to – sharing the joy and passion of football.

“We would like to sincerely thank all of our partners – the Australian and New Zealand Governments, the UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF Pacific, whose generous donations have made the WASH Festivals Tour of Fiji possible.”

WASH Festival Tour of Fiji – Northern District Timetable:

School Name

 Date  Time  Number of Children


Labasa Special School


10:00 am – 11:00 am 67

Nasekula District School

14/10/20 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm


Labasa Muslim Primary School


10:00 am – 11:00 am


Bethel Primary School

15/10/20 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

200 +

Holy Family Primary School

15/10/20 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm


Immaculate Conception Primary School
(Solevu – Bua)




12:00– 1:00 pm


Seaqaqa Primary School 17/10/20 10:00 – 11:00 am


Dreketi Primary School

17/10/20 1:00 – 2:00 pm



Saint Andrews Primary School

23/10/20 TBC


Naweni District School

23/10/20 TBC 317
Yaroi Village 23/10/20



Nukubalavu Village 23/10/20 TBC