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Vanuatu’s Nabanga Sport gains momentum


Vanuatu’s Nabanga Sport gains momentum

The very first season of Nabanga Sport has just wound up, but it is only the beginning for Vanuatu’s new community sports program...

Nabanga Sport creates sport league

The new sports programme trains young men and women to run regular organised physical activities for children and youth in rural communities.

For the first time, five remote communities in Vanuatu now have a sport league thanks to Nabanga Sport. It is also the first time that community youth have organised sport.

Positive impact
Nabanga Sport National Coordinator Alwyn Job is excited about the positive stories, which are emerging from communities after the program’s first season, but he is also firmly focused on what needs to be done for communities to reap lasting benefits.

‘Usually the youth in rural communities only play sport maybe twice a year on special event days. It has been really great to see so many not only playing regular competitions in volleyball or soccer, but also stepping up and running them,’ says Alwyn.

’It’s a great start. When the communities have the skills and drive to keep it going each season, year after year, these communities will see real success and benefits from Nabanga Sport.’

(Re)building ties through sport
Alwyn explains that, although youth in Vanuatu communities have led sport during season one, they received a lot of help from program staff. He warns that the program’s benefits — such as people from the different nakamals (villages) of North Tanna starting to talk after years of disputes simply because they are coming together to play sport — will not continue if the program does not last.

Sustainability and long-term perspectives
Fortunately, longevity is built into the Nabanga Sport program as a central goal, in its focus on strengthening communities to run the program themselves. But targeting rural island communities in Vanuatu’s provinces with a brand new program is not an easy task: travel is difficult and expensive, communication is tough and literacy levels are low in most communities.

Juggling Sport and Development
Also, as the first program in Vanuatu to bring together sport and development, program staff (particularly those working directly with communities) have to learn skills of community development and sport development at the same time as they are teaching and supporting communities.

Opportunities and solutions
The solution is to upskill staff and community simultaneously, using a combination of formal training and on-the-job mentoring. Formal training sessions are conducted as short modules and on subjects applicable to the current needs of the communities.

Practical application
Immediately after each training session, the staff, with the assistance of the instructor, go into the community and apply what they’ve learnt. For example, Community Sport Worker Shiela has finished formal training and will now go to North Tanna with her mentor, volleyball expert Joe.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


Article type



Erin Beal


Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - 23:00

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