Rugby club captains sign up as peace ambassadors

Youth & Careers

Bougainville rugby club captains are now ambassadors for peace and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs)
For the first time, captains of 10 different rugby clubs in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have signed up to become ambassadors for the SDGs.
In their new role, supported by Bougainville Rugby Union, the ambassadors will use sports as a platform to raise awareness on peace and the SDGs, a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all Bougainvilleans by 2030.
This initiative was made possible with a partnership between Bougainville Rugby Union, Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support the region to embrace sports as a development platform to create awareness on peace building and socio-economic activities.
UNDP governance programme analyst, Kia-Henry Nema said: “We are very excited about this partnership. Rugby is a sport growing in popularity in Bougainville and engages people all over the region. By partnering with clubs, we can establish a powerful platform to show solidarity and share reconciliation messages to help develop a culture of peace and dialogue for sustainable development.
“These players are determined to change their communities through sports and with the rugby festivals they have a tremendous opportunity to set an example and drive change in their communities by promoting core values in sport such as respect, fair play and team work,” Nema said.
Bougainville Rugby Union manager Kelly Havara welcomed the partnership.
“Through our rugby programmes and festivals, we aim to help youths get involved in sports and avoid social problems such as alcohol and drugs,” he said.
The new ambassadors would participate in Bougainville community rugby festivals, which take place every two months in different constituencies and involve divisions for women, Under 20 men and senior men.
“We now have UNDP and ABG coming on board with funding support which helps a lot especially to help cover transportation costs for rugby clubs,” he said.
In their first task as ambassadors, the 10 rugby captains and a number of club officials participated in a workshop on SDGs and peace building in Buka on July 11 to learn about the importance of the global goals and how they can influence their team members and communities on how to achieve the SDGs in a local context.

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