The OFC Women’s Football Capacity Building programme has successfully moved into Phase 2, with the first local Member Association workshops held in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

The first MA to take the next step was Papua New Guinea where Women’s Football Development Officer, Margaret Aka, facilitated a three-day workshop in Lae.

The Local MA Workshops are aimed at developing the personal and professional skills of women in Pacific Island communities who are interested in working or volunteering in football.

An experienced coach instructor, Aka said she managed her expectations going into the first workshop knowing it was quite different content and delivery to previous football courses.

“The content I presented on the first day, interestingly all the participants came out and expressed themselves on what they learnt, what they wanted to improve on when they go back, and it was amazing how they were open about their own weaknesses in front of myself and other participants,” Aka said.

“The workshop was focused on the participants and helping them to understand themselves, recognise their own strengths, their own leadership qualities and to see their own potential.”

The participants ranged from people involved in small to medium-sized enterprises, to team managers, football players and coaches, many involved in the current National Women’s Soccer League.

Aka said although the workshop falls under the women’s football development category, the actual content delves much deeper.

“It wasn’t about football, or me as the facilitator, but about themselves and connecting them to what they’re doing,” she explained.

“It’s about trying to help them improve themselves, to be leaders. You have to be a leader of yourself before you can be a leader of others.”

As part of the workshop, the participants were also tasked with planning a project together. The group planned and implementing of a festival, which was delivered to kids whose parents work at the correctional institute in Lae, Buimo.

The second of four planned workshops was scheduled to take place last Friday in Port Moresby, but has been postponed to accommodate the nation’s mourning of its founding father, Sir Michael Thomas Somare.

Over in Samoa, the Local MA Workshop wrapped at the FFS Regional Technical Headquarters at Iva Lalomalava in Savaii on Friday.

As in Papua New Guinea, the workshop aimed to develop the 27 participants skills in leadership and project management while building on their confidence and decision-making ability.

FFS Women’s Football Development Officers, Maria Salamasina and Angela Pauga facilitated the workshop, which also concluded with a well-attended festival.