Firms address health, youth through sport


Three major stakeholders came together to address the intersection of health and youth through sport in Papua New Guinea in a workshop held in Port Moresby last week.
The event, sponsored by ExxonMobil and supported by the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee, brought together youth–focused organisations to share best practices.
It also introduced participants to the impact model of grassroot soccer, an adolescent health organisation that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilise at-risk youth in developing countries to overcome their health challenges, live healthier, more productive lives, and be agents for change in their communities.
ExxonMobil Foundation has been partnering with Grassroots Soccer since 2011. It is in 50 countries, with over two million youths reached. This is the first time the programme has been extended to PNG.
“Adolescents often face unique challenges around health issues, including lack of health knowledge, behavioural risks, negative peer pressure, and difficulty accessing health services.
Providing health education and life skills during adolescence can set young people up for a healthier life.
“Our methodology combines local trained mentors, a proven curriculum incorporating soccer-based activities, and a supportive culture,” Grassroots soccer partnership director Sarah Miller said.
Two issues that were particularly relevant to youth in PNG were malaria and gender-based violence.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development indicate that 33 per cent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner.
ExxonMobil PNG community development support manager Sisa Kini said sport played an important role in addressing social issues.
“We are pleased to support this programme so young people of today can be better equipped with information and knowledge that can enable them to be the catalyst for change in their communities.”