'Just Play' ready to roll out to primary schools

By Gutu Faasau 08 March 2023, 10:00AM

The Football Federation Samoa (FFS) has picked up their ‘Just Play’ training program that was left off for two years ago and they held their first training sessions for the health and wash course for 2023. 

Just Play is a multi-country sport development programme designed by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) for children and adolescents aged between six and 18-years.

This is to support children grow, learn and develop through football. Through Just Play, children and adolescents are empowered to become advocates for change, supporting the development of positive behaviour practices, promoting individual resilience, shared knowledge and experiences among their communities.

Thirteen individuals participated in the course. F.F.S. and Just Play Samoa local partners the Ministry of Education Sport and Culture, and the Special Olympics Samoa to facilitated their training. Participants also included volunteers from local communities and special schools.

The course is to teach the youths how to run the program at the community level within a 16-weeks duration. They are targeting more than 16 primary schools where this program is designed to be delivered to.

Program manager for Just Play, Pelenatete Taei said this is important because the health of the children is improved through football.

“We go out to the primary schools and supply them with all the resources. This will teach on how to stay healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. All the people involved in the program create a safe environment for the children to play football and have fun,” said Ms. Taei. 

“The past two years have been very slow for the program and 2023 is a fresh start to pick up again. The Just Play training program is free to join. I encourage everyone to join and see how we deliver the program so that you yourself can do the same.”

The workshop focused on skill development, knowledge and understanding and how they delivered all components and sessions in their communities and schools.

Ms Taei said with high levels of domestic and gender-based violence, adolescent suicide and bullying, limited access to services and significant risks to natural disasters children in the Pacific face many challenges on a daily basis.

Over 70 per cent of deaths in the Pacific is due to non-communicable diseases and less than 20 per cent of children in the Pacific are taking part in regular physical activity.

Sport Development programmes like Just Play has a critical role in society in reducing risk factors and safeguard the health and wellness of the region’s youngest population.

By Gutu Faasau 08 March 2023, 10:00AM
Samoa Observer

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