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Madang gets a share of Just Play Program

The two day workshop was held at the Sigma Construction Recreation area last Friday. The programme successfully was opened by the President of Madang Soccer Association, Mr. Siegifred Beschel.

In attendance were representatives from eight primary schools including two communities around the province. Apart from football activities, teachers and volunteers also learnt skills on practical awareness of social issues affecting children and how they can use the skills to tackle such issues.

The participants did practical sessions on the field with dribbling and shooting skills which was conducted at the Laiwaden oval with a tournament set up as the last activity of the seminar.

The final day saw the participants receiving sporting kits consisting of cones, bibs, markers, whistle, pumps/balls and manuals to run the program in their respective schools and communities.

According to Madang Soccer Association President, there have not been junior development programme in the province and the Just Play Program will make a big impact on our elite program in the province.

“We’ve asked PNG Football to come and run the programme here in Madang and this will be the first stage to our junior development”

“Its also a good programme which will unite all the communities together and I am priveledge to have this programme rolled out to the province,” said Mr. Beschel during a short interview after the seminar.

Developed by the OFC social responsibility and technical departments, Just Play is designed for children aged six to 12 and promotes physical activity while encouraging community involvement and healthy living.

OFC has worked closely with UEFA, the Australian Government – through its agencies the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – and Football Federation Australia to implement the programme across the Pacific over a three-year period between 2009 and 2012.

It was launched in Tonga and is now also running in American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.

The confederation has also been working in New Zealand with Special Olympics on a Just Play programme for people with mental disabilities and has launched the same initiative in Samoa and Fiji.

Just Play has reached over 100,000 children – 43 per cent of whom are female – across the Pacific and trained over 2,000 teachers and volunteers.

Recent review findings have shown that students who participate in Just Play are more motivated to go to school, improve their academic performance and develop positive citizenship skills while many of the volunteers have demonstrated strong leadership within their communities.

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