The Just Play program continues to grow since its implementation in 2009 in the Pacific and 2011 in Samoa where a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture and Football Federation Samoa to integrate Just Play Programme into their Health and Physical Education subject in school.
The program aims to encourage physical activity for primary aged children between the ages 5 to 12 years and at the same time enable them to learn, grow and explore sport (football) in a positive and meaningful way.
With a focus on the promotion of healthy lifestyles, gender equality, social inclusion and child protection, the Just Play Programme seeks to reduce the risks of Non Communicable Diseases, increase the ability to make healthy lifestyle choices, promote gender equality and change perceptions of women among participants and their communities, encourage social inclusion and promote a change of perception towards person with a disability, providing a safe environment for children where all teachers and volunteers sign the Child Protection Policy before delivery of the activities. Not only that but creating opportunities and pathways to promote the capacity building of women and girls and measure educational benefits through improved school attendance, behavior and participation among participants.
These two weeks of school break for term one, Just Play have been conducting trainings for teachers and volunteers in 5 districts such as Falealili, Safata, Aana 1, Sagaga and Aana 2 to be completed by the end of this week. These were also the same schools that were part of the phase one of Just Play and are now trained for the new second phase piloted in 2013.
Just Play Project manager and local instructor Lynetta Laumea-Faaiuaso conducted the training with the assistance of Malaetala Salanoa and Masato Tsuchiya, JICA Volunteer for Football Federation Samoa.
“It has been an interesting 2 weeks of training, with the teachers and volunteers of respective districts; they have been very active and participatory with group discussions and practical sessions.
Just Play has been identified as a critical entry point and we trust the teachers and volunteers trained will learn and deliver the Just Play activities with social objectives and messages to the children to improve their lives with evidence,” she said.
Just Play Program is a sport for development program that addresses social issues in the Pacific such as child abuse, gender inequality, non-communicable diseases and exclusion of persons with disability and how Just Play can contribute in reducing these issues.
The week-long training concludes on Friday 21 April with the intention of participants going back to their designated schools and communities to deliver the program for sixteen weeks while the Just Play team will Monitor and Evaluate to measure social changes within these districts.
As part of the Just Play Program each participant will receive Just Play Teacher/Volunteer Guide, Evaluation booklets and equipment bag containing balls, cones, bibs, markers, Just Play “Pasifika” mini size mascot, whistles, and other resources to assist the pilot in schools and communities after sixteen weeks of monitoring and evaluation.
Just Play is managed by the Oceania Football Confederation with the support from the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government, the Australian Football Federation, UNICEF and the Union of European Football Association through the UEFA Foundation for children.