Sport brings communities together through a common goal and Netball Australia is one of the major sporting codes that support Harmony Day, celebrated every year on March 21 to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Netball NSW lead the way with a Taste of Harmony Lunch on Friday March 18 followed by its Multicultural Netball Cup, where participants from Sydney’s Sri Lankan community took part in match play before attending the ANZ Championship Pre-Season tournament at Netball Central.
Through the sharing of food, music and expressions of Australia’s rich cultural diversity, Harmony Day provides an annual opportunity to reflect upon the importance of providing respectful and inclusive sporting environments for everyone, regardless of their background or ability.
Since 2013, Netball Australia has partnered with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to deliver programs and opportunities to increase participation in netball in Australia’s multicultural communities through the Australia Post One Netball program.
Through the `Diversity and Social Cohesion’ funding programme, a number of initiatives have been delivered to build the capacity to engage and support new communities to netball – as well as creating opportunities for diverse communities to be introduced to netball in a culturally safe and enjoyable environment.
Critical to the success of the One Netball program has been the leadership and guidance of the One Netball Advisory Group.
The Group, consisting of industry leaders and experts in the fields of inclusive sport practice and multicultural community engagement and support, have paved the path for meaningful community partnerships which has seen netball introduced to new communities across Australia.
Members include former FECCA Chairman Pino Migliorino, CEO of the Centre for Multicultural Youth Carmel Guerra, CEO of ACCESS Community Services Gail Ker OAM, and sport inclusion expert Dr Paul Oliver.
This partnership has funded the delivery of coaching and umpiring accreditation courses, which has seen more than 100 women and girls complete these courses across Australia.
Netball Australia and Member Organisation staff continue to receive cultural competency and awareness training, to better inform their support of multicultural communities in netball program delivery.
Recognising transport as a key barrier to participation in sporting activities, the program enabled over 1000 children from multicultural communities across NSW to attend the Netball World Cup in Sydney in 2015.
Through relationships with migrant resource centres, resettlement services, English languages schools, community groups and not-for-profit organisations, State and Territory Netball Associations have worked closely with communities in their local areas to create tailored netball programs that suit the cultural requirements of different migrant groups.
This has included a variety of Come and Try’ clinics and programs, as well as participation in multi-sport gala days.
Share your Harmony Day 2016 celebrations this year by registering your event at harmonyday.gov.au and tagging your Twitter posts with #harmonyday, #onenetball and @netballaust