Oceania Football Confederation’s Just Play programme has hit the ground running in 2023.

Fiji hosted Just Play’s first regional instructor training in 3 years last month in Nadi with representatives from  Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti and Kiribati Islands where the programme is launching for the first time this year.

The focus was on the Health and Wash curriculum aimed at improving knowledge and behaviours of children with regards to nutrition, physical activity, safe water and hygiene including hand washing.

The training of the trainers taught instructors how to deliver the key messages from the Health and Wash curriculum, where the trainers will return to their countries to teach Just Play programs and volunteers.

“Having that safe space to learn and share in addition to having this diverse group of participants with a growth mindset and positive attitude displayed throughout the long week course was inspirational.” Reflected OFC’s Just Play Programme Manager Lavinia Yalovi.

“It is amazing to hear and see the ripple impact of the Just Play program in the Pacific, how the program has changed many children’s and people’s lives, strengthening relationships at national and international level and the stories added depth to the discussion on how we can continue to deliver quality programs in the future. Future.”

“With a ball, a coach, and a safe place to play Just play program will continue to build stronger healthier individuals, communities, and nations by addressing social issues affecting children and adolescent in the Pacific.” Yalovi added.

Despite challenges from natural disasters like the volcanic eruption and Tsunami in Tonga last year and Covid 19 restricting sporting activities Yalovi says Just Play has achieved remarkable success.

“ I must applaud the Just Play Program team across the Pacific in defying all odds and reaching 35,000 children still. That is pure passion and dedication from the Just Play team with the support from our Member Associations and our financial partners.”

Just Play” is designed for 6-12 year olds and is based around structured activity programmes and the distribution of equipment packs containing balls, cones, bibs, activity manuals and other resources that enable children to play football at any time and in any situation.

Just Play contributes to gender equality, social inclusion and health and physical activity through providing inclusive, fun and safe environments for children across the Pacific to learn and develop through football.

  • 1/3 of Children in the Pacific do not have access to good sanitation
  • 99% of children were able to correctly demonstrate how to wash their hands after participating in the Just Play programme compared to 32% before.

“The Just Play Programme is delivered by OFC in partnership with our Member Associations. Since 2009 the programme has reached more than 400,000 children across Oceania thanks to the  support of Australian Aid and Team Up, The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, UEFA Foundation for Children, and UNICEF.”