By ISAAC LIRI
The PNG Football Association’s Just Play programme held a volunteer training session yesterday at the St John’s Primary School in Port Moresby.
The session is an integral part of the programme where trained volunteers get to train new volunteers by delivering key messages and doing practical sessions.
The volunteers that were trained came from the communities in the Moresby South electorate.
PNG’s Just Play operation manager Micah Kaneng said the programme had been running since 2012 but a lack of publicity had seen it facing difficulties in expanding.
With a good amount of funding coming from OFC and Unicef recently, Kaneng and his team had seen some form of development which was their main objective, using football as a vehicle to address socials issues in the communities.
“Our goal was to see Just Play expand throughout the country. Even though the programme had been around since 2012, we haven’t seen much progress until now and we want to build on that,” Kaneng said.
The Just Play programme is run in OFC member countries — American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
One of the programme’s objectives was to promote healthy lifestyle choices and reduce risks associated with non-communicable diseases.
It also aims to promote gender equality and change perceptions towards women and girls and to create opportunities and pathways to promote empowerment among women and girls.
It also increases opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and promotes a change of perception towards persons with disabilities in the wider communities and promotes child protection.
With these key messages volunteers then go out to educate children in communities.
The Just Play participants are also heavily involved in football competitions organised by the PNG Football Association such as the National Soccer League and Besta Cup tournaments.
Kaneng and his team are planning to expand to other provinces by the end of the year.
By ISAAC LIRI