Netball Australia has partnered with the Australian Government since 2010 to implement the Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) program.
PSP is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to support Australian national sporting organisations to partner with their Pacific counterparts to strengthen capacity to deliver sports-based programs that achieve social development objectives.
Netball Australia implements the PSP as One Netball Pacific with Netball Samoa, Tonga Netball Association and Vanuatu Netball. One Netball Pacific aims to:
- Support improvements in the capacity of national netball associations so they are well-managed, active, supportive women’s groups.
- Support national netball associations to create more opportunities for women and girls to take part in physical activity that complies with WHO standards for prevention of non-communicable disease and promotes improved health-related behaviours.
- Support national netball associations to create supportive environments that improve women’s potential to access leadership and decision making opportunities.
- Improve partnerships and information sharing between national netball associations, other Netball Australia programs, INF members and development organizations with shared development objectives.
The program has also previously included work with Netball Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea Netball Federation. La Trobe University was engaged to conduct a review of the first three years of the program and a summary of findings can be found here.
The One Netball Pacific program has supported full-time employment opportunities with national netball federations for 22 local women over the course of the program, all of whom have had access to professional development opportunities. 1,750 volunteers have taken part in netball umpire, coach and bench official training, including 15 who have had the opportunity to travel internationally for further development. Over 70 Pacific Island women have participated in governance training and workshops, and governance reviews for partner netball federations have made them role models of best-practice in their countries.
Netball Samoa (NS) has been able to establish a sister association on the second main island of Savaii, to cater for increased demand for the sport. Funding through One Netball Pacific enabled NS to extend the reach of their KidsNet junior participation program to regional areas, and to train more coaches, umpires and administrators through the Villages Sports Leaders program. Two previously unemployed women have been recruited to the Savaii Association Board, as casual employees, in a rural area where men dominate leadership roles and community decision making.
Over 65,000 participants have taken part in physical activity through One Netball Pacific programs.
Through funding from One Netball Pacific, Vanuatu Netball (VN) has been able to deliver ‘Rock Netball’ for female office workers during their lunch breaks, which combines physical activity with health education modules including nutrition sessions and healthy cooking classes. VN works with the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Unit at the Vila Central Hospital to measure Body Mass Index (BMI), blood sugar levels and blood pressure of all participants, and provide information about healthy lifestyle choices.
Tonga Netball Association (TNA) recruits and trains Community Mobilisers to support the Kau Mai Tonga campaign with funding through One Netball Pacific. Community Mobilisers are mentored to offer regular netball activities in their local areas across the country and establish netball clubs in time for one of TNA’s events held throughout the year. TNA also works with NCD nurses to monitor and screen 35+ players (over 35 years of age or over 35 BMI) at all tournaments and provide important information about the state of their health as well as suggestions for improving this. Participants are then eligible for awards which recognise the improved health behaviours and weight loss of teams and individuals that compete across all three TNA tournaments in a year, to encourage regular participation.
- Up to 150 women have participated in health screening
- 37 women have been trained as community mobilisers
Sport can contribute to increasing women’s voice in decision-making and leadership. Women’s involvement in sport is an entry point to normalise, in the eyes of both women and men, women’s participation in decision making. It is also an entry point to women’s participation at higher levels of society and in more formal systems. If women are going to benefit from community development activities, they must be involved in the leadership and decision making processes associated with these activities. Netball provides an opportunity for women and girls to develop and practise leadership and decision making skills in entry level team, community and club roles that can be applied to other aspects of their lives and within their communities.
The Vanuatu Netball Development Officer was funded through One Netball Pacific to attend the South Pacific Sports Leadership Program in Fiji and successfully achieved her International Sports Leadership Training Level 2 Certificate. She now negotiates with the Chief of her village to run netball programs in her community.