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Ex-combatant becomes part of Just Play

Cletus Noibio is a young man who was once a student before the conflict in the Konnou constituency of the northern tip of the Island of Bougainville. As a result of the crisis, Cletus became part of the freedom fighters which saw families fighting against each other with many torn apart.

He was a Commander but realised that there was no future for him fighting against his own family and decided to contribute to the sports activities organised as a reconciling tool.

And Cletus is not the only ex-combatant to be involved in this community sports programme. Christ Mota, a village elder has a similar past story as Cletus but has now come forward to help his province and people come out of a dark past.

In November 2011, elders in the area proposed a cease fire ceremony which eventuated later that year. Ex- combatants, leaders and Government officials from the ARB Government were part of the ceremony.

The UNDP saw the importance of the activity and quickly stepped in, proposing a sports competition where youths will be involved to help bring peace amongst each other. The main idea was to engage the young people in the games which will change their mindset and be part of the programme. This also led to an invitation to take part in the selection trials in Arawa for the PNG Games in November this year.

Soon after, Pikinini Sports was also introduced and children also became part of the sports programme. Proving their ability in staging the children’s games, Bougainville Football Association invited two of the many Konnou people to attend the Just Play Program workshop in Buka last week.

The Just Play programme is the latest of the children’s’ programme which only entered the ARB in September, 2012. It also aims to encourage sports participation, gender equality and community involvement through football clinics and coaching for children of ages six to 12.

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