Pacific women in sport taking the leadership pathway
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The Pacific Women’s Sports Leadership Program ran its second annual workshop in Samoa last month.

The PWSLP is a professional development programme for Pacific women who are involved in sport, with a clear objective of developing future female leaders in the region.

Jane Livesey, development manager for the ICC East Asia Pacific region, co-founded this initiative with Olivia Philpott, both being dedicated practitioners and advocates of sport for development projects across the Pacific.

This was something that would potentially be of benefit to the Pacific and to all the women we had met in the Pacific through sport – knowing that the women are the heart and soul of Pacific communities - but then are completely under-represented across the Pacific in areas of life when it comes to leadership and decision-making,” said Livesey.

Sport we know is a great enabler of people and communities, and we just felt this was something that would be of benefit and add value to what they’re already doing as leaders in their communities.”

While the inaugural workshop held in PNG last year was considered a resounding success, Livesey believes this year’s gathering in Apia has taken the programme a step further.

Every programme is a learning opportunity. I think we probably have learnt more from this second programme than the first in terms of how to go about this.”

The long-term objective of the programme being that it is run by and in the service of Pacific Women from across the region.

That’s where we’d like to get to. So that’s probably come into much sharper focus for us on the back of the second programme.”

22 women from seven countries – Samoa, Fiji, PNG, Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, New Zealand - representing 13 sports or sporting organisations participated in the programme in Apia.

For Livesey, one of the most positive outcomes is that these women take away valuable lessons and apply them in their local roles and communities.

The big success was the 22 women we had in the room, who hopefully walked away with just one thing they can take back and use to help them in their everyday lives and what they’re trying to do.”

The programme really focusses on them: who they are; what matters to them; what drives them; what their purpose is,” said Livesey.

Then if there are any changes they want to make to their lives, giving them some tools and some experiments to try and bring about change.”

Samoa was selected as this year’s location due to the emerging change being seen for women in sport there and enhanced by the fact it will be hosting the 2019 Pacific Games next July.

There has been a real boost in women taking on leadership roles, particularly in the sporting sector in Samoa, so a really good example and in role-modelling as well.”


Media/Comms Adviser, Journalist, S4D Advocate