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Just Play Cook Islands Addresses Social Issues

Fourteen teachers from seven schools here on Rarotonga have taken the opportunity to participate in Just Play’s new content workshop.

Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Social Development Programme ran the workshop on Monday and Tuesday at the CIFA Complex in Matavera.
Just Play instructor and project manager Michelle Paiti conducted the two day workshop. The course covered the new content through classroom theory sessions, group activities and on the field practical sessions.
The new content addresses social issues in the Pacific and, more importantly in the Cook Islands, with 34 sessions focusing on four objectives and key messages that will be conducted throughout the year.
Paiti said the four objectives are, “to increase healthy lifestyle choices and to reduce the risk factors associated with NCDS, to promote gender equality, increase opportunities and encourage social inclusion of persons with special needs and promote safe, protective environments in communities.”
“The course was aimed to give tools for educators to prepare, deliver, measure and evaluate physical activity for children while integrating the four objectives,” adds Paiti.
Participants were able to practice what they learned in theory sessions as they delivered these messages and activities to fifty children from the Matavera village.
“Child protection in our community is an important issue that we need to promote. We need to educate our children by encouraging respect, observe and listen, protecting themselves and avoiding dangerous situations,” says Paiti.
“We live in paradise but it does have its issues and we need to educate our children about these issues in a positive peaceful approach and sports are a great tool to do this,” continues Paiti.
Two great examples that were showcased in the practical demonstration featured five plus fruits and vegetables a day and stranger danger.
“One participant will be taking what she has learned to Manihiki and we are excited that she will be able to deliver Just Play to our children,” states Paiti.
“This is exciting for the progression of Just Play, especially when it is difficult to travel to the northern parts of the Cook Islands.”
Just Play Kits full of equipment required for this programme were presented to the new facilitators to allow them to deliver the programme throughout the next six months and beyond.
Developed by the Oceania Football Confederation social responsibility and technical department, Just Play is designed for children aged five to 13 and promotes active healthy lifestyles.
Paiti would like to thank Takitumu School especially the children and parents for their continued support and assistance in Just Play. As well as local partners from Health, Gender, Child Services for their contributions during the course.
“We would like to acknowledge the continued funding and support of this programme from the Australian Government (AusAid), UEFA, Unicef, and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC),” says Paiti.