The Tonga Football Association Social Responsibility and Women’s Football departments have collaborated for the first time to deliver a Women’s Capacity Building Workshop on Vava’u.

Palu Uhatahi-Tu’amoheloa, TFA Head of Social Responsibility, who co-facilitated the three-day workshop alongside women’s football development manager Adelaide Tu’ivailala and development officers Sepi Vea and Lupe Likiliki, said the opportunity to work together has been a blessing.

“The goal of the workshop is to assist everyone who has a connection to women’s football in popularising and helping to increase participation of women in football,” Uhatahi-Tu’amoheloa said.

“We worked well as a team as there are links between women’s football and the Just Play Programme in terms of empowering women and girls, and ending violence against women and children through safeguarding.”

The workshop covered three key themes; Values, Leadership and Community Projects, with a particular focus on building the capacity of those working in the women’s division in clubs, communities and/or local member associations.

The timing of the workshop coincides with Tonga’s vision to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, with the workshop intended to identify the right people to actively perform roles in support of the federation’s vision.

The content looks at identifying the participants personal and professional values, their challenges and strengths as a leader, and how to develop a project to apply their learnings in their area of expertise within the football structure.

“The content itself, for volunteers and participants, was quite new compared to what they are used to,” Uhatahi-Tu’amoheloa said.

“The participants come from different backgrounds with different expectations and you need to marry that with the content to ensure that their input counts.

“We had 100 per cent attendance across the three days and a high level of positive feedback was received, although some participants thought they would be learning technical skills of football.”

Uhatahi-Tu’amoheloa said as well as developing women’s football, the workshop will have benefits to the social responsibility department which she runs in Tonga.

“We had some Just Play volunteers take part in this training, and the same components can be used as part of the capacity building of our Just Play volunteers.

“The programme helps everyone to run their lives in a more proactive and positive manner, without having to selfishly make decisions without considering the impact on others.”

The local MA Women’s Capacity Building Workshop held in Vava’u forms Phase 2 of the OFC Women’s Football Capacity Building programme, with Tonga the fourth Member Association behind Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, to implement the workshop locally.

Written in collaboration with Tonga Football Association