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Guadalcanal takes first Just Play step

A kind weather and a band of enthusiastic teachers was the backdrop for the opening ceremony which had the privilege of the presence officials from FIFA, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and a team from the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF).
A warm welcome was offered by the principal of Ngalibiu Primary School, Edmond Sonitavea, to the guests and the participants at the ceremony and he also heaped praise on the Just Play program saying that it is a dream come true for Guadalcanal teachers.
“Firstly, I would like to welcome you all to our school and our community for the workshop. Even though we were not the first choice we are very appreciative that we are able to host this program.,” Sonitavea says. “This workshop is very important as it is the first of its kind to come down to the grassroots for the teachers of Guadalcanal. For most of us teachers something like this is a dream but today this dream has come true.”
SIFF Special Projects Manager, Phillip Ohoto’ona says that he is very pleased that the program is now underway.
“Considering the late changes that had to be made I am happy that we are able to get things underway. Today and tomorrow are very important for the teachers since they will become instructors to implement the program in their own schools. I am confident that the opportunity will be made full use of,” Ohoto’ona says.
All of the forty-two teachers expected to attend the workshop turned up including 16 women highlighting the cross-gender appeal of the Just Play program. Some of the teachers have made long trips away from their schools and their families to attend the workshop.
The main activity for the first day was the delivery of training to the teachers. Local instructors from SIFF led the training with Diane Justus playing a major role under the supervision of OFC women’s development officer, Emmie Sope. A brief introductory session for Just Play kicked set the pace for the teachers and this moved into the practical sessions where the participants learnt about how to implement training lessons from the program manual.
Tomorrow the program will extend into sessions with primary school children from the area so that the teachers can practise in simulated situations . One of the highlights of tomorrow’s program is the Just Play football festival which involves fun games organised by the teachers and their instructors. This will be followed by the presentation of Just Play certificates and equipment to the teachers and their schools.
The Just Play program is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Agency for International Aid (AusAID). Vanuatu, Tonga and Papua New Guinea are among other countries that are part of pacific wide rollout of Just Play managed by the OFC.

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