UNICEF PNG Communication Specialist Sipora Monier explains that in child protection they are specifically looking at birth registration which they realise that most children in PNG are not birth registered.
With the aim of putting children first, Papua New Guinea Football Association and UNICEF PNG, through the Just Play Programme are using sports and community engagement to ensure that children are aware of the importance of vaccination, malaria and gender equality.
Just Play staff, teachers and volunteers also helping to disseminate critical information and to re-engage children through active participation.
While the children were having small fun games the official mascot of the Pacific Games, Tura the Kokomo visited them and distributed colour books and crayons to the little ones.
Ms. Monier says that UNICEF needs partners like Just Play which uses sports to address serious issues affecting the population of Papua New Guinea and also giving the opportunity for children to express themselves.
“UNICEF PNG and Just Play are reaching out through the 2015 Oil Search Baton Relay, enlightening the Pacific Games in putting children first especially the underprivileged ones to make them feel that they are part of the games,” she says.
Monier says that the idea now is for Just Play and UNICEF to do a regional programme cooperation agreement which Papua New Guinea will be a new member working with UNICEF to address issues like water sanitation and the importance of hygiene in and out of school for the communities.
“It is something that we are looking at working more together in that partnership to touch children in other provinces after the Pacific Games, which will be an exciting time for UNICEF, PNG children and Just Play,” say Monier.