Suva, Fiji – After more than a year of working successfully together, Cricket Fiji and ChildFund Sport for Development have concluded their partnership. The two organisations collaborated to deliver Cricket for Good – Fiji, a program that provided sport and life skills learning opportunities for children and young people.
Cricket Fiji Chief Executive Officer, Sitiveni Rokoro, highlights the value of this partnership: ‘The experience that we gained from the program as an implementing partner and for the youth coaches has been invaluable. Partnering with an internationally recognised sport for development organisation brings pride to us – knowing that we are part of a global movement in using sport for development – to address issues at community level.’
Cricket for Good – Fiji was designed to equip children and young people to overcome challenges, develop peer support networks, and drive change to promote gender equality and the elimination of violence in their communities.
At the core of this partnership was a curriculum that integrated cricket and life skills learning, set in a safe, inclusive, equitable and structured learning environment. The curriculum was adapted from ChildFund Sport for Development’s evidence-based model that was hailed by an external evaluation to be ‘amongst some of the best in the world for connecting sport and development outcomes.’
The partnership ensured over 50% of the community based youth Coaches and players (12 – 16 years old) were women and girls, through strategic recruitment practices, and ensuring safe, inclusive, and equitable environments both off and on the field. The impact of this is highlighted through the experiences of players and Coaches:
‘I had never played sport at school before. My favourite part of the program is the life skills activities. I like the way my Coach coaches us – she creates a positive atmosphere for our learning. We are not afraid to talk. The learning has given me the confidence to speak out, as well as seek support when I need it. The program has helped me to make better choices in life. I have learnt to be bold, confident and stand up for myself when I face peer pressure. Many people think that only boys play sport or play cricket. But now I believe that girls can play cricket or sport too. I believe what boys can do; girls can do too’ Ana, a 12-year-old female.
‘In Cricket for Good – Fiji, I was surrounded by an amazing group of other fellow Coaches who encouraged me and supported me especially during Coach training,’ said Melaia, a 25-year-old female Coach. ‘Before joining, I was a school drop-out who mostly hung out on the street. The program took me off the streets and it gave me a great support system that enabled me to aspire for more and to do better. It inspired me to become a good role model for the players.’
As the partnership concludes, ChildFund looks forward to seeing cricket develop even further in the country. ‘We are grateful for having been given the opportunity to work with Cricket Fiji. Through this partnership, we were able to reach more communities and use the power of sport to push for social good,’ said Chris Mastaglio, ChildFund Sport for Development Director. ‘We can’t wait to see how Cricket Fiji continues to grow the sport in the country.’
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