OFC is committed to growing football at community and school level throughout the Pacific. To this end, OFC has developed a unique grassroots programme called ‘Just Play’ which promotes physical activity for primary-aged children while encouraging community involvement and healthy living.
‘Just Play’ is designed for children aged 6-12 and is based around structured activity programmes as well as the distribution of equipment packs containing balls, cones, bibs, activity manuals and other resources that enable children to play football at anytime and in any situation.
Michelle Paiti is the Just Play Project Manager for the Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) and is assisted by Development Officer, Tuka Tisam.
The programme has been implemented in two facilitators’ course with Primary School teachers, community group leaders throughout Rarotonga and is the initiative of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and is funded by the Australian Government (AUSAID) and UEFA.
Volunteers, community group leaders and teachers, who are trained by Just Play Project Manager Michelle Paiti, provide tuition for facilitators on how to develop games skills and lead healthier lives.
‘Just Play’ certificates and equipments bags are handed out at the end of each course.
‘Just Play’ has now spread to two of the outer islands within the Sourthern Cook Islands, Aitutakiand Atiu.
‘Just Play’ was launched in the Cook Islands, 16 March 2011 and attended by the Minister of Youth & Sports Hon. Mark Brown, Secretary of Education Sharyn Paio, Oceania Football President David Chung and General Secretary Tai Nicholas, School Principals, Community Group Leaders and trained facilitators.
CIFA is working closely with several members following a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between partners of this programme during the launch in March 2011, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth & Sports and Oceania Football Confederation.
An important aspect of the ‘Just Play’ program is the pro-active fostering of the development in local clubs and associations which remain the primary source of the game’s grass-roots and elite development strength throughout Oceania.
Keys and Figures
Approximately 1300 Children Witnessed Participation 49% Girls
1x Just Play Instructor
62 Just Play Facilitators with 74% Females
1st Female Project Manager in the Pacific
1x Development Officer