Hoops for Health

The Hoops for Health program is a basketball development program which is currently active in the national federations of Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. The program seeks to use basketball as a tool for community development in these countries using the 3x3 format of the game.

The program is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) initiative. PSP was launched in 2009 to strengthen sporting cooperation with the Pacific and to contribute to the priorities of Australia’s aid program in the region. PSP has a particular focus on supporting grassroots sport and capacity building of national sporting federations, whilst contributing to identified development outcomes. The overall aim of Australia’s development-through-sport assistance is to ‘develop healthier and more inclusive communities through sport’.

Currently, PSP activities focus on; increasing regular participation of Pacific Islanders, including people with disability, in grassroots sport activities; and, improving health-related behaviours of Pacific Islanders which impact on non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors.

Basketball came on board as a PSP sport in 2014, piloting the Hoops for Health program with the Basketball Federation of Fiji. In 2015, the program expanded to include Vanuatu, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. Using 3x3, the Hoops for Health program seeks to enter schools and communities to increase physical activity and basketball participation, whilst simultaneously educating people on the risk of NCDs in the Pacific. 75% of all adult deaths in the region are NCD related, many of which are easily preventable.

The Hoops for Health end of program outcomes in the Pacific are as follows:

  1. Improve governance and operational effectiveness of Pacific basketball federations;
    Increase capacity to plan, run and monitor participation based basketball programs;
    Increase participation in basketball activities of people at risk of acquiring NCDs or related illnesses;
    Increased participation and leadership of people with disability and women and girls in sport; and,
    Improve collaboration between Pacific sport organisations and development partners.

An example of one of the initiatives currently being run under the Hoops for Health program is “Mum’s A Hero”, in Fiji. Basketball Fiji are making a difference in local communities by using basketball to equip mothers with the tools to improve health related behaviour, with a focus on activity and nutrition. Delivered in a basketball context, experts come in to speak to the mothers about healthy eating and physical exercise tips. The women take part in an aerobics session, learn some basketball drills and have a go at 3x3 basketball games.