Just Play Solomon Islands has successfully ended its Child and Family Welfare Act Festivals in Western provincial capital Gizo last week.
The Just Play Child and Family Welfare Act Festivals attracted hundreds of primary school students from Gizo at two separate events held at JF Kennedy stadium and Titiana Community High School.
A team of volunteers from Honiara organized football-based games and activities to advocate key messages on the newly enacted Child and Family Welfare Act which was passed in Parliament last year.
In September 2017, UNICEF engaged in a consultation process with Government partners, to support the development of sport-based games and activities for use as an advocacy platform to disseminate key messages on the newly enacted Child and Family Welfare Act.
The Government of the Solomon Islands enacted the Child and Family Welfare Act in 2017. The Act provides the Social Welfare Department with a legal mandate for the protection of children from violence and abuse in collaboration with other government agencies, NGOs and faith-based organizations, while reinforcing the traditional roles of families and communities for the care and wellbeing of their children.
To help children and adolescents understand key messages on what violence is, who they can talk to if something happens to them and what they can do as well as identify where to go for support.
These key messages from the Act have been designed into sport-based games and is delivered by the Solomon Islands Football Federation’s Just Play programme to children through a sport festival based platform.
The team was divided into stations where the kids participated in groups according to classes.
Station two leader Vanessa Kausimae said they are trying to inspire future generations of Solomon Islands with key messages related to the Child and Family Welfare Act.
“Basically we are team from Honiara and we are from the Just Play programme that is under SIFF”, she said.
“There are sessions that have been formulated relating to the recent Child and Family Welfare Act that was passed last year in Parliament.
“These sessions are formulated to get key messages across to children using football.
“There have been six stations with messages that children take turns to play in each station and have each six messages that we have formulated pass on to them.”
Junior Corey station four leader said the programme will definitely help the kids when they grow up in the future.
“I believe what we are doing will help the children when they become adults especially to show respect to their community elders”, he said.
“It is very important because we are working with children 6-12-year-old and I think we can touch more lives.”
The festivals raise awareness on the Act among children and adolescents in Honiara City, Guadalcanal, Isabel and Western provinces.
Sessions include learning about the role of the police and social welfare officers to help protect children.
Sports festivals were run from March in Honiara ending in the Western Province.
In partnership with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), UNICEF will work with the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF), the Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to spread key messages on the Child and Family Welfare under the theme: Look Listen Act.
Financial support for these festivals is provided by the Australian Government, whose support was crucial for the development of the Child and Family Welfare Act.
It was estimated that the programme have reached more than five thousand children in Solomon Islands in 2018.