Oceania Football Confederation > News > Just Play > OFC launches Fiji Emergency Programme

OFC launches Fiji Emergency Programme

Fiji Just Play Project Manager Lavenia Yalovi says “The adapted content replaces regular programme sessions in Fiji for two months, and focuses on increasing knowledge and understanding of coping with an emergency.”
“The updated content covers handwashing and water safety, food security and safety and security in the wake of an emergency like of Cyclone Winston,” Yalovi says.
UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr Karen Allen said “UNICEF Pacific in partnership with OFC and through the Fiji Football Association, supported a training on psychological first aid for 28 Just Play facilitators in Suva and 10 Just Play facilitators in the Western Division.”
“After Cyclone Winston, we know that many schools were damaged, destroyed or occupied by people who lost their entire homes. Therefore children and teachers need assistance to get back to school and learning, with special post-emergency psycho-social care also available to aid their recovery from trauma and loss,” she added.
“The OFC Just Play programme will deploy trained facilitators to selected affected communities across Fiji to host Just Play festivals as part of social mobilisation activities to reinforce key messages and assist with psychological first aid targeting specifically children between 6 – 16 years of age,” said Dr Allen.
The sessions will be delivered in Vanuabalavu, Koro Island, Gau, Ovalau, Batiki, Nairai, Taveuni, Savusavu, Tunuloa, Rabi, Cakaudrove Point, Bua, Korovou, Rakiraki, Tavua, Lautoka, Yasawa Islands, Ba and Vatukoula.
Each of these locations were identified as the key areas requiring support in the Government of Fiji’s National Emergency Operation Centre document.
Yalovi witnessed first-hand the destruction caused by Cyclone Winston and understands that although reaching the outer islands will be the most challenging, it is where efforts need to be focused.
“Although the Just Play programme is not present in many of the most vulnerable places, we know we need to get support to these people as soon as possible,” she says.
“Our efforts now are focused on capacity building and partnerships. We want to send strong, independent leaders to these areas so that everyone in Fiji is given a chance at survival and recovery.”
A projected 15,000 children will be reached, with 1,620 community volunteers trained to deliver the 4 or 8 week programmes.
It is the second time UNICEF Pacific and OFC have collaborated to develop an emergency programme. The first, in 2015 was for Vanuatu in response to Tropical Cyclone Pam, a category 5 cyclone which affected over 166,000 people, including 82,000 children. The Emergency Programme was used to support partners in delivering critical information to children and communities through a sport-based festival platform.
Following on from the success of the emergency programme in Vanuatu, OFC Head of Social Responsibility and International Relations Franck Castillo says it is crucial that Just Play provides the programme in Fiji.
“The devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam meant we had to act fast and provide aid with minimal planning. We had to think on our feet, but this provided valuable learning experience. We have reflected on Cyclone Pam and applied our learning to the Fiji Emergency Programme, adapting it to their needs,” Castillo says.
“We have created a programme for Fiji’s affected communities which creates a fun and safe atmosphere where children can play, while delivering important messages so that even the most vulnerable members of society are prepared for natural disasters.”
A press conference for the launch of the Emergency Programme will be held at Fiji FA Headquarters in Vatuwaqa on 23 March 2016. The New Zealand High Commission, the Australian High Commission and UNICEF Pacific are among the stakeholders who have been invited to attend.
About OFC
OFC is charged with the task of servicing and administering football in the Oceania region while also using the game as a tool for social development. The Confederation is led by OFC President David Chung who was elected to office in 2011. The Just Play Programme is designed and monitored by the OFC Social Responsibility department, in partnership with the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government, Football Federation Australia, UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF.
For more information about OFC or its 11 Member Associations visit: www.oceaniafootball.com
About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and our work in the Pacific visit: www.unicef.org/pacificislands/
About Just Play
The Just Play programme is a sport for development programme that helps children to grow, learn and explore through sport. Just Play gives a child a ball, a coach and a safe place to play. The programme shows children how to have fun with other children, be physically active and become confident in their abilities. Through the integration of social messages, Just Play helps children to develop healthy lifestyles habits, encourages gender equality and leaders in the community, promotes social inclusion and insists on sport for all.
For more information on the programme please visit: www.justplayofc.org


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