Representatives from five Pacific Island national netball associations have spent the week at Netball Australia HQ for a development conference to help grow the sport in the region.
The Pacific Netball Partnership forum is part of Netball Australia’s ongoing commitment to developing netball in the Pacific region.
The delegation from the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea includes presidents, CEOs, development officers and national operations managers – all with a passion for boosting the numbers playing netball in their respective countries.
Since 2010 Netball Australia has been working with the national netball associations of the Pacific Island countries to improve the way each plans and delivers quality netball activities and programs and continue to grow the sport in the region.
The group took part in a range of seminars and workshops with key Netball Australia staff and are encouraged to take ideas back to their respective national associations they believe could help grow their game.
For Netball Papua New Guinea development officer Marinama Maha, the week has been extremely beneficial.
“We are the newest member (country) in this program and I have learned a lot, from marketing to the database, which is going to be useful for us,” she said.
“I have really enjoyed it and it’s been nice to meet everyone on the program as well. There are a lot of things that I didn’t know I could easily access that I do now.”
Tonga Netball Association development officer Salote Sisifa said meeting with their neighbours and Netball Australia’s International Development Manager Olivia Philpott had allowed them to talk about issues specifically relating to their countries.
“It’s been a healthy forum not only to meet with Netball Australia, but to meet with our Pacific Island counterparts, sit down and work through what works for each other,” she said.
Part of the delegation’s visit includes visiting local netball clubs and associations to see how they deliver Netball Australia’s programs such as introductory program NetSetGo! as well as meeting with other key sporting organisations to learn more about how they encourage participation from diverse backgrounds.
Netball Australia receives funding from the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnership (PSP) program, which has been extended through until 2017.
Philpott said the PSP has allowed each of these Pacific Island nations to employ full-time staff and establish central offices.
“The forum will equip participants to plan and scale participation programs, improve the profile of netball in their countries and present the value of their organizations to government and potential funders,” she said.
“The opportunity to network with Netball Australia staff, and hear about their experiences, will only help build the level of ongoing support and share learning with these growing netball nations.”
Netball Cook Islands CEO Louis Enoka would like to hold similar forums more regularly.
“Each one of us found what we are looking for (this week),” he declared.