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Sports development for Samoa


Sports development for Samoa

Samoan villagers of all ages and levels of fitness are having fun while exercising, thanks to the Samoa Sport for Development Program’s community-run initiatives.

Just before sunrise, three mornings a week, the village of Levi wakes up to the sounds of pop singer Pink as local aerobic instructors lead energetic ‘jazzercise’ sessions for men and women, young and old.

Jazzercise was the first choice of activity for all four of the program’s village sport programs. People from participating villages believe it is the best way to get the whole village active and combat common ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as diabetes.

Adults are not the only ones benefiting from the Samoa Sport for Development Program. Two villages have recently started Fiafia Sports: a fun and active junior sport program aimed at developing fundamental movement skills of children aged 6–12.

In Sale’imoa, Fiafia Sports is so popular that at one April session coordinator Leilani Jackson-Sapatu said there were over 140 children participating.

‘The children are very keen, always looking forward to the sessions and always there on time,’ Leilani says.

‘The local volunteers are very innovative and make the most of limited equipment. They enjoy the program because it is easy to instruct, easy to run, the kids really enjoy it, and they don’t have to spend too much time explaining things — they just get them active.’

The Samoa Sport for Development Program also offers sports for young people, including volleyball, netball and touch rugby.

Program Officer, Tavita Fesolai, who lives in a rural Samoan village, said that helping to organise activities was a good way to get unemployed youth active.
‘They have plenty of time on their hands when they are not working on the family plantation, so it’s good for them to be involved in running sport for their community.’

Activities have been very popular in the pilot villages meaning that the Samoa Sport for Development Program is well on its way to its goal of getting village communities involved in regular sport and physical activity.

The Samoa Sport for Development Program is part of the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP), which is managed by the Australian Sports Commission’s International Relations program. ASOP aims to build the capacity of individuals and organisations to provide quality, participation-based sport programs in communities in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Vanuatu.

Find out more:
Australian Sports Commission
Samoa Sport for Development Program


Article type



Rob Regent


Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 23:00

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