OFC Just Play

The OFC Just Play programme is a social development and grassroots programme initially developed to target children aged 6-12 years old.

The original programme was based around the Millennium Development Goals and the pilot project was implemented in Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa in 2009.

Aimed at providing an environment where children learn, grow and explore football in a positive and meaningful way, the early success of Just Play was evident and soon saw the programme expand across the majority of OFC Member Associations.

Delivered by teachers, in primary schools during school hours, and by community volunteers as an extra-curricular programme, Just Play engages children through active participation in an organised series of interactive football sessions.

What sets the Just Play programme apart from other grassroots programmes is the integration of social messages into all sessions and activities. It is through these messages that children learn to develop healthy lifestyle habits, include persons with disabilities, support and encourage gender equality and increase their school and community engagement.

While developed and managed by the Oceania Football Confederation, the OFC Just Play Programme would not have been possible without the support of the Australian Government, the Football Federation of Australia, the New Zealand Government, UNICEF and the Union of European Football Association, through the UEFA Foundation for Children.

So far, OFC Just Play has reached 251, 850 children across 11 Pacific Island countries, and based on this success the programme has expanded into new territory.

The Football Federation of Australia, with the financial support of the Government of Australia, proposed to give All India Football Federation (AIFF) the initiative to develop the Just Play Programme in India.

With additional financial support from UEFA Foundation for Children, and technical assistance from OFC, the Just Play pilot in India was launched in July 2016 in the state of Kerala by the Kerala Football Association (KFA) in partnership with the Government of Kerala, and in the State of Maharashtra by the Western India Football Association (WIFA) in February 2017.

Just Play Emergency Programme

In addition to the regular programme, in 2015 the OFC Social Responsibility Department created the OFC Just Play Emergency Programme in response to the category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam which hit Vanuatu on Friday 13 March.

The storm in Vanuatu hit 22 islands and affected over 166,000 people, of which 82,000 were children. Homes, schools, businesses and basic services were destroyed, affecting children and coaches involved in the Just Play programme.

After the cyclone, Just Play collaborated with UNICEF Pacific to use the programme’s platform to reach children and share important information.

Thirty-six emergency festivals were delivered and birth certificates issued to children as part of the Nation Birth Registration Campaign, on top of regular programme activity. Psychosocial training allowed coaches to use Just Play sessions to encourage children to share their experience of the cyclone and support them through the recovery process.

Lessons learned from the emergency response to Cyclone Pam contributed to the official development of the OFC Just Play Emergency Programme which launched on March 23 2016 in response to Tropical Cyclone Winston, which hit Fiji in February.

The objectives of the emergency programme are to teach children how to keep themselves and their families safe during an emergency and to support their recovery after a cyclone. The curriculum incorporates key recovery and response messages, which include:

· Coping with an emergency

· Hand washing and water safety

· Food security

· Safety and security

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