A review conducted by La Trobe University into the impact of the One Netball Pacific program has revealed promising signs that the program will lead to long-term health and leadership outcomes for women in the region.
The program, made possible with Australian Aid funding provided through the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships, was reviewed by La Trobe University in 2014 with the aim of illustrating the value of netball as a tool in achieving development outcomes.
The review, released today on the second International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, found that netball programs have positively impacted on participation, women’s leadership opportunities and health.
Over 65,000 participants, including 1,757 officials, have taken part in One Netball Pacific activities as the sport continues to develop across the region, providing regular physical activity for women and girls.
Off the court, the program has provided 22 Pacific Island women with full-time employment and 70 women with access to training in governance and administration, including two stay at home mothers who have been appointed to the Savaii Netball Association Board (Samoa), offering the pair with leadership opportunities in a community dominated by male decision makers.
Healthy communities remains a key priority in the Pacific with education programs aimed at improving health-related behaviours and awareness.
Vanuatu Netball has three qualified StopHIV trainers who have delivered training to over 200 participants while up to 150 women have participated in health screening for non-communicable diseases at Tonga Netball Association events.
“Netball is a great initiative, [through playing] netball [you can] prove to your village that you can be someone and then from there you can slowly build on your strength and your esteem,” a survey respondent in Tonga said.
“Netball has been an enlightenment for many of the players, [including] home mums and single mothers so it’s changed everything.”
La Trobe University’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact will monitor the program’s impact on the capacity of the netball federations, increased physical activity, women’s potential to access leadership and decision making opportunities and the working relationships between netball associations over the next three years.
The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, established by the United Nations General Assembly, celebrates the contribution of sports and physical activity to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and a peaceful world.