Volunteer achievements

Sports development

Developing sports structure, organisation, understanding and access is a key component of every project. Our volunteers lead daily village and school sports coaching sessions in the rural communities and these initiatives are growing from strength to strength. We base our sports coaching on the ethos of ‘sport for all’ to ensure our sports programme is engaging and inclusive.  Our volunteers have provided coaching assistance to grass roots teams, began the first PE lessons in the local primary schools, and introduced new sports and training ideas and organised island tournaments. We’ve seen a massive uptake and growing enthusiasm for our sports coaching and we look forward to this developing further and across more rural island communities in Fiji.

Grassroots sports development

When Think Pacific began the first phase of our sports development projects in 2009, rugby and netball were the only sports being informally organized at the end of school.  It’s a credit to all of our past and present sports volunteers to see just how far the sports development in Fiji’s outer Islands has come since then. The result is a sports field that now resembles a carnival every week-day afternoon from 3-6pm with dedicated training in rugby, netball, football, cricket, hockey, rounders and volleyball and sports days or competitive games every Saturday. Badminton has been the latest sport to be introduced and we continue to add to the timetable. When our volunteers have individual skills to offer is great to introduce something new and we’ve had kick boxing lessons, swimming lessons, Thai boxing, dance and aerobics to name just a few! Kindergarten PE lessons for the under 5’s have also been a real hit, which come complete with tug o war competitions, Frisbee, sprinting, sack races and egg and spoon races all adding to the sport for all programme.

Island Zone, TP Olympics and rural competitions

As well as children’s sports, our volunteers have made a real impact by training with and competing against the Fijian men’s and women’s sports teams. We’ve enjoyed some epic rugby, netball, football and volleybal tournaments, which are always a highlight of the project.
We have created our very own ‘Think Pacific Olympics’ which now takes place as part of each Fiji expedition, allowing our volunteers to enjoy a fun day of sports competition with the local community members.  One of our biggest sporting highlights so far has been funding for the Moturiki School rugby and netball teams  to take part in (and reach the finals of) the regional inter island sports tournament on Ovalau island, a sports competition for over 2000 Fijian children across the Lomaiviti Islands.

Local support

Our sports initiatives have gained huge support within Fiji from the Ministry of Sport, The National Centre for Health Promotion and The Fijian National Sporting Bodies. Following the success of our sports lessons on Moturiki Island, we have been asked by our local partners to provide dedicated sports assistance throughout the whole island group and we hope to enable all children, across all islands in the Lomaiviti Province to have access to structured sports coaching and games.  In 2009 we were delighted to name Think Pacific’s Ambassador for Sports, Fijian International rugby star Seru Rabeni, who visited Moturiki Island to the excited young faces, to offer his support and coaching on our projects.

Sustainable sports development

Think Pacific funds all of the sports equipment for the communities as part of a long term initiative which ensures Fijian schools and villages have the resources, facilities and funding to continue to foster their young players. Additionally, we are helping to fund coaching badges and referring qualifications for Fijian volunteers who support our projects year round and ensure the management and organization of the games, training, coaching, refereeing and further development of the initiatives is locally led. This local management plan is the key to the long term achievement in sports development in Fiji.

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The whole 5 weeks was absolutely amazing, never a dull moment, it really was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Katie Thorn, Derbyshire
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