Oceania Football Confederation > News > Just Play > Bougainville joins Just Play family

Bougainville joins Just Play family

The launch took place at Hahela Primary School on the island of Buka and was attended by OFC Head of Social Responsibility and International Relations Franck Castillo, OFC Just Play Technical Coordinator Emmie Sope, Bougainville Soccer Federation President Joseph Maineke and representatives from the other parties involved in the implementation of Just Play.
The Australian Sports Commission was represented by Martin Roberts, who oversees Australia’s Pacific Sports Partnership, while Bruce Lendon from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was also on hand, as was Lisa Clutterham, the second secretary for the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.
Roberts is pleased to see Just Play being rolled out to the likes of Bougainville and urged the people of the region to embrace the programme.
“This is an opportunity to use football as a tool for development purposes,” he said.
Bougainville is currently in a period of reconciliation after going through years of conflict and civil war in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ten ex-combatants were among the participants of the workshop that accompanied the Just Play launch and it is hoped the programme will be of benefit to the reconciliation process.
“The social messages of Just Play are of particular value given the trauma experienced during the Bougainville Crisis and the ongoing effort to rebuild, heal and reconcile,” Lendon said in his address, delivered on behalf of Hon Richard Marles, the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs who could not be in attendance.
“Around the world, sport is continously used as a medium through which people from different backgrounds come together in the spirit of cooperation, peace and community,” he added.
“It is pleasing that a number of ex-combatants will be participating in the Just Play workshops. They will be able to return to their communities, continue to promote peace through sport and encourage the next generation of young Bougainvilleans to get involved.”
The launch involved nearly 40 participants, some of whom travelled from as far afield as Arawa in Central Bougainville, and they were put through their paces with two days of theory and practical sessions.
Taku Niebo, Just Play project manager for the Papua New Guinea Football Association, was pleased with the enthusiasm shown by the participants but said the launching workshop would just be the starting point for the development of the programme in Bougainville.
Franck Castillo, who oversees the implementation of Just Play across the Pacific, is confident the initiative will be a big success in the region.
“We can see that Just Play will be successful here due to the strong involvement of the Bougainville Soccer Federation President, Joseph Maineke, who is very passionate about the programme,” Castillo said.
Developed by the OFC social responsibility and technical departments, Just Play is designed for children aged six to 12 and promotes physical activity while encouraging community involvement, healthy living, gender equality and disability development.
OFC has worked closely with UEFA, the Australian Government – through its agencies the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – and Football Federation Australia to implement the programme across the Pacific over a three-year period between 2009 and 2012. It was launched in Tonga and is now also running in American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
The confederation has also been working in New Zealand with Special Olympics on a Just Play programme for people with mental disabilities and has launched the same initiative in Samoa and Fiji.
Just Play has reached over 100,000 children – 43 per cent of whom are female – across the Pacific and trained over 2,000 teachers and volunteers.
For more on Papua New Guinea football go to www.pngfootball.com.pg

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