Keeping Oceania happy and healthy through basketball
FIBA in Oceania’s Basketball ‘+’ strategy is changing people’s lives throughout the Pacific.
Oceania is filled with many small island countries.
The people who live in these areas sometimes experience a rough life; subject to natural disasters, poverty and many other community development issues.
Because of this, things such as a healthy diet or physical activity are often not a priority.
This is why Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Timor-Leste and soon Papua New Guinea are using basketball to show their communities how to be active, happy and healthy.
From the outside, Basketball Fiji’s (BF) community and school clinics look like children just having fun playing basketball.
In fact, these clinics use basketball to teach young Fijians about healthy foods and the benefits of exercise.
Basketball Fiji’s H4H coaches conducting a clinic with students at Marist Primary in Suva
BF’s ‘Mum’s a Hero’ program brings women together for some fun basketball games while teaching them about proper nutrition and staying active.
The ‘Mum’s a Hero’ program is also helping change traditions about gender roles in Fiji.
BF’s Hoops for Health (H4H) Coach Leah Seru is a strong young women helping to change the stereotype of women just staying at home and looking after the food and families.
It is good to see a female face present amongst the males out in the schools and taking a leading role in teaching basketball and promoting health messages. – Basketball Fiji Chief Operating Officer Laisiasa Puamau
Basketball Fiji hopes that they can use basketball to help support this ideaand the next generation of Fijians to be happy, healthy and safe through basketball.
Similar to Fiji, a high number of people in Vanuatu suffer from obesity and health issues due to unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.
This is why the Vanuatu Basketball Federation (VBF) use fun basketball clinics for kids to teach them about healthy food options.
These clinics have only just begun but are already become very popular in many local schools.
The students enjoy participating in the clinics, they are happy that they are leaning new skills and for some of them a new sport. - Vanuatu National Basketball Development Officer Kevin Roslyn
The H4H coaches love teaching these kids about basketball and staying healthy because the students have some much fun.
“Each school that our coaches have been to the children enjoy themselves so much that they always ask when we will be back again.” – Roslyn
Vila North School students learning to dribble while identifying healthy foods
Another small island country using basketball for social change is Kiribati.
The Kiribati Basketball Federation (KBF) deliver their H4H program in a similar fashion to Fiji and Vanuatu in communities and schools.
Young children and teenagers in Kiribati love to play 3x3 basketball. The KBF run 3x3 tournaments throughout the local community.
KBF speaks to local high school students about upcoming 3x3 activities
Kiribati is hosting the Interschool 3x3 Basketball Championships to celebrate International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on the 9th of April.
The United Nations declared April 6th as International Day of Sport for Development and Peace to raise awareness of the vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values that sport possesses to contribute towards development and peace.
FIBA’s Basketball ‘+’ programs in these countries are what the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace are all about.
The first Asian nation to join the Basketball ’+’ family is Timor-Leste.
The women in Timor-Leste experience a high rate of domestic violence.
The Federacao Nacional De Basquetebol Timor-Leste’s (FNBTL) ‘Mum’s a Hero’ program aims to help change this by bringing women together through basketball.
There is a group of young coaches who saw the program as a chance to help the women of Timor with the sport they love.
We have so many amazing young coaches. It is great to see how much they want to help the women of Timor. – FNBTL Secretary General Isildo Thilman
FIBA in Oceania Development Manager Annie La Fleur teaching the FNBTL ‘Mum’s a Hero‘ coaches how to run community clinics
Others in Timor are already seeing the great work these coaches are doing.
The Fokupers women’s group were very eager to join the ‘Mum’s a Hero’ program.
There is already a change happening in Timor with many of the ‘Mum’s a Hero’ coaches being women.
These young women are breaking the tradition of staying at home to cook and clean.
“It’s great to have so many women coaches. They will make the women participating feel welcome. They will all be role models for young people in the community. – Thilman
"FIBA is extremely proud that they are able to assist their national federations in improving the lives of people in their countries through basketball." – FIBA in Oceania Executive Director David Crocker
The Basketball ‘+’ system manages the Hoops for Health (H4H) and ‘Mum’s a Hero’ programs. These programs are funded by the Australian Government as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) and Asian Sports Partnership (ASP) programs.
None of this remarkable work would be possible without the funding and support provided by the Australian Government.