OFC has launched a Women’s Football Capacity Building Programme.

The multi-faceted programme is aimed at enhancing the sustainability of women’s football in the Pacific, while building stronger communities within the OFC football family.

Phase one of the project is a Train the Trainer Workshop that includes three modules – life skills, leadership skills and work skills. The workshop is open to Women’s Football Development Officers and Just Play Programme Managers in the Pacific.

The modules are being conducted online due to the travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic; the first one ran on July 14.

The leadership skills module will take place on Wednesday, July 28 and OFC’s Women’s Football Development Officer Emma Evans said the programme had garnered strong support among OFC’s Member Associations.

“It’s pleasing to see such a great turnout for these workshops, and they will promote some valuable skills such as critical thinking, decision making and problem solving,” Evans said.

“We want to see more women involved in leadership positions throughout football in the Pacific and this programme will serve as a great starting point to develop female leaders in the game.”

Following the completion of the capacity building exercise, the participants will be well-placed to conduct their own football development programmes in their respective countries.

Emma Evans, centre, with fellow Women’s Football Development Officers Margaret Aka (Papua New Guinea), left, and Holly Nixon (New Zealand).

The capacity building programme has received financial assistance from FIFA as it comes under their wider strategy to develop the women’s game.

There’s eight Women’s Football Development Officers working in OFC across the 11 Member Associations in either a full-time or part-time capacity.

One of the key pillars for women’s football development in the Pacific is for every Member Association to have a full-time Women’s Development Officer.

Women’s football development and capacity building is a vital part of the OFC Strategic Plan 2019-2026.

“We have set some ambitious goals for the women’s game in the Pacific and we are determined to reach them,” Evans said.

“Our Member Associations are keen to put themselves in a position to be able to deliver their objectives for the women’s game.”

Further workshops are set to follow as part of this programme and if travel restrictions ease, there will be a conference focusing on women’s football and support visits to OFC’s Member Associations.

Looking ahead

Evans hoped to see women’s participation numbers grow in our region in the near future.

“We want to see more girls and women playing the game and experiencing the opportunity to be involved in football.

“One of the long-term benefits of OFC’s Women’s Football Capacity Building Programme is that our Member Associations will be better equipped to deliver their respective football programmes.”

Looming on the horizon is the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 that will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

This means OFC will have a strong connection to one of the biggest events in world football.

“That tournament should help create a lasting legacy for women’s football in the Pacific and it’s exciting that OFC can potentially play a role in that,” Evans said.