A whole lot of hard work and determination from the OFC Social Responsibility Department has paid off with the new 34-session Just Play Programme now being rolled out around the region.
Just Play's new content arrives with an increased focus on the four key social issues. Credit: OFC via Phototek
In March 2014, the Just Play Project Managers and top instructors from OFC’s 11 Member Associations came together in Auckland, New Zealand to learn as much as possible about the new content.They have since shared their knowledge and expertise with the Just Play team in their respective countries and the new content is being introduced to schools as well as communities.Just Play technical coordinator Emmie Sope says it is great to finally see the new content being delivered around the Pacific.“I have visited three countries so far and overall I’ve been pleased with what I have seen in terms of the instructors and their delivery of the content.“This content is very different to the previous one because we are now concentrating more on the social components of the programme, and what I’ve seen is a need to further adapt this aspect of the programme to local contexts.“I understand this is a work in progress and will improve over time once they have facilitated on four or five courses.“Overall, it is a learning opportunity for both the participants and the instructors and I was happy to see that the participants were enjoying themselves at the same time which is exactly what we intended.”The four key social messages – awareness of non-communicable diseases, gender equality, children with a disability inclusion and child protection – are an integral part of the Just Play Programme alongside the promotion of fun physical activity.The new content closely relates activities to one of the four social messages that is under focus, and puts increased emphasis on the message that is being delivered to the participating children.While happy with how the programme and the new content are being delivered, Sope believes it is an area that will remain in constant evolution.“There is no right or wrong way to share these messages. What we want to see is greater awareness of these social issues, which affect so many of our communities throughout the Pacific, and for the participants to enjoy themselves while learning at the same time.”Sope says if that means those involved have to continue refining their approach then so be it.“We are working with children aged between six and 12 years old and we have to remember that their understanding may not be as straightforward as it is for an adult,” she says.“The messages are simple and combine well with the practical sessions that we have designed, but the activity is not as important as having fun. With the feedback I will receive from the Just Play team in our Member Associations, I will have a better platform to work from. “This means we can continue to work closely with our partners, the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission, Football Federation Australia, UEFA and UNICEF, and the Just Play team to continually update and refine the activities to make the programme better.”Sope will continue to visit OFC Member Associations to follow-up on the implementation of the new Just Play Programme content, with trips to three countries planned for the coming months.