In true Just Play Samoa fashion, the Itu o Asau district in Savaii celebrated the conclusion of their first OFC Just Play programme rollout and Universal Children’s day through a Just Play festival at Sataua Primary School last week.
Children from Asau Primary School, Auala Primary School, Papa/Sataua Primary School, Vaisala Primary School, Neiafu Primary School, Falelima Primary School, Tufutafoe Primary School, and Falealupo Primary School all gathered for a day of fun to celebrate their milestone.
Reaching the north-western district has been a goal of OFC and Football Federation Samoa since the inaugural implementation of the Samoa Just Play programme in 2009, but with access limited to one ferry terminal in Salelologa on the Eastern side of the island, implementing in Itu o Asau proved more challenging than other rollouts of the programme.
OFC Social Responsibility Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Supriya Kulkarni-Padhye believes providing the opportunity to play and have fun with other children is an imperative part of the programme, regardless of the accessibility of their communities.
“Reaching more isolated communities such as the Itu o Asau district can be difficult regarding communication and transportation of resources but these communities are where children need Just Play the most,” she said.
“These children do not have the same access to organised sport as children in more accessible parts of Savaii, so providing Just Play as a means of exercise and fun allows these children to build a positive affinity with sport and this will follow them into adulthood.”
“Every child has the right to Just Play.”
Before the implementation of Just Play, the only sport available in the isolated district was Kirikiti Samoa , a traditional Samoan form of cricket. Introducing football-based Sport for Development programme allowed the children to experience more diversity in sport and physical activity.
The OFC Just Play programme will continue in the Itu o Asau district in the New Year.
About Just Play
The OFC 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 lifestyle 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
The OFC Just Play Programme is designed and monitored by the OFC Social Responsibility Department in partnership with Australian and the New Zealand Governments, the Football Federation Australia, the UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF. For more information about OFC or its 11 Member Associations visit: www.oceaniafootball.com