The Just Play Programme has officially expanded into the Faa’a community of French Polynesia following its introduction to local schools this week.

The initial presentation of the sport for development programme took place in November 2020, when city hall sports administration staff were given an overview of how it works, and how it could link into existing sports offerings.

Following that, eight coaches from local football club AS Tefana were joined by city council sports staff for an intensive training period every Friday for five weeks.


City of Faa’a and AS Tefana coaches who will implement the Just Play Programme in local schools. Credit: FTF

Just Play Programme Manager, Celine Haapuea, said these training sessions have been unique in that for the first time, she’s not training teachers to deliver the programme to their classes.

“In Faa’a, the city council and the schools have a mutual agreement where sports professionals visit schools during the periods set aside for physical activity. A lot of different sports take advantage of this opportunity, like Va’a, fencing and football,” she said.

“Because of this agreement, we organised the training with the football stakeholders within the city council and the local club.

Haapuea said the training was well received by the participants with many stating the social messaging component was one of the most attractive aspects of the programme.

“Certain participants acknowledged that they have wanted to do something to reduce the plague of non-communicable diseases like obesity and diabetes, but didn’t know how to,” Haapuea said.

“The fact that we address the different social issues in the Pacific, based on the figures, really struck them and motivated them to contribute.

“What struck me was that none of the participants thought it was possible to share these messages of prevention of health issues and gender equality through games.”

The first training session was held solely with the eight coaches on January 15 before children from the CM1 classes were included in the sessions on the four remaining Fridays.

Following the conclusion of the training, the Just Play equipment kits were distributed to the six participating schools. The kits consist of footballs, ball bags, ball pumps, cones and bibs, and Vaiaha and Piafau Primary Schools were the first to receive the kits on Monday 1 March.

The first in-school sessions will take place with students in CE1 classes (children aged 7-8 years old) this week after the pre-programme questionnaire is completed.

Session Plan for Just Play in Faa’a

Week 1: Eat fruit and vegetables every day
Week 2: Water is good
Week 3: Make good food choices
Week 4: Promote healthy eating
Week 5: Water is the best drink
Week 6: Eat a bit of everything
Week 7: Mutual respect
Week 8: We can all play together
Week 9: We are one
Week 10: Respect everyone
Weeks 11 & 12: Inter-class festivals