It has been nine years since the Fiji FA’s Just Play program was introduced and in these years at least 48,000 children in Fiji have participated in the program.
For children between the ages of six to 12 years, Just Play develops and improves a child’s social and life skills.
“Through the integration of social messages into all sessions and activities, children learn to develop healthy lifestyle habits, include persons with disabilities, support and encourage gender equality and increase their school and community engagement,” program manager Lavenia Yalovi said.
The program was developed and managed by the Oceania Football Confederation with support from the Australian Government, the Football Federation of Australia, the New Zealand Government, UNICEF and the Union of European Football Association (through the UEFA foundation for Children).
This year alone, Just Play has involved 3795 students — 1825 girls, 1950 boys and 20 children,” Yalovi said.
“The Sport for Development program was first launched in Fiji nine years ago and since then it has seen a success in schools and communities throughout the country by training local teachers and volunteers and empowering them to lead the program.”
The program has become popular among students..
“We are targeting children from the age of six to twelve years and every week they look forward to our presence in their schools,” Yalovi said.
Based on the success and popularity of the Just Play program in Fiji, Yalovi says work on the Just Play program had increased tremendously as they had five full time staff with 44 volunteers around the nation.
Yalovi said their aim was to reach more than 10,000 children this year.