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Australian Government form partnership to strengthen women’s sport in St Lucia


Australian Government form partnership to strengthen women’s sport in St Lucia

Sacred Sports Foundation Inc. has joined forces with the Australian Government to encourage vulnerable young St. Lucian girls to participate more in sports and healthy lifestyle activities.

The Australian Government, through the Australian Sports Outreach Programme (ASOP), will provide AU$16,000 to undertake a Girls2Women project in Saint Lucia, aimed specifically at reaching 13 to 17-year-old young ladies. This funding is in addition to the regional ASOP–supported activities.

Delight at securing support
Sacred Sports Foundation Executive Director Nova Alexander said: "We are delighted to have been successful in securing funds that will aid our commitment to promoting the potential of girls in Saint Lucia. Australia has long been internationally recognized as having the world's best practice model for sport at all levels and we look forward to taking full advantage of their assistance and sporting knowledge."

ASOP leased with partnership
The St. Lucia-based nonprofit organisation is dedicated to using sport as a development tool to assist youth in the Caribbean and has in recent years worked on a number of sports programs with a range of local, regional and international partners. ASOP grants manager, Lucy Stewart, stated "The Australian Sports Outreach Program is pleased to partner with the Sacred Sports Foundation to support the foundation's development through sport activities."

Opportunities for women in sport
"The development experience of the Sacred Sports Foundation and thorough project planning will allow the Girls2Women project to achieve its objectives of encouraging and providing the opportunity for young women to participate in sport. The project will also provide education for participants to lead healthy lifestyles and to address social challenges that young St. Lucian females face, whilst also increasing the capacity of PE teachers, local coaches and organisations".

"The ASOP is eagerly awaiting commencement of the project and contributing to the achievement of these locally identified community development goals." The ASOP provides assistance for eligible development-through-sport projects and is jointly operated by the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (including the Australian High Commission in Port of Spain, Trinidad).

Youth development community sports project
The application process for an ASOP grant is highly competitive, with 196 applications being received from eligible countries around the world for an ASOP grant in 2011-12. The program in St. Lucia is designed as a youth development community sports project targeting vulnerable young St. Lucian girls between ages 13-17 and will promote leading a healthy lifestyle, social inclusion and assist address challenging social issues, including sex education, illegal drug use and HIV.

There will be an emphasis on participation in sport, and netball in particular. Ms. Alexander noted: "Research indicates that 13-17 is a critical development period, and sport can play a major role in helping girls tackle several life challenges and social problems that often result in early pregnancy, poor life choices and poor health behaviors coupled with a lack of youth employment opportunities.

Island wide benefits
The programme will work with young girls in secondary schools and vulnerable communities Island wide. School leavers, elite netball players, local coaches, physical education teachers and facilitators will all directly benefit from programme assistance".

[This article has been edited by The Operating Team]


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Nova Alexander


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 23:00