Pacific embracing Australian football
The Pikinini Kick program, funded by Australian aid, is giving ni-Vanuatu kids the chance to play this iconic Australian game and just as in PNG the AFL team is seeing the sport take off. The program is a positive outlet for adolescents and has a talent development program that teaches ball skills, how to kick goals and how to be a good sport.
The program also has a firm focus on forging lifelong habits to prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and promoting the inclusion of women and girls. Program manager Nancy Patterson is one of a growing number of female sports administrators across the island nation, acting as both a champion for the game and a role model for the kids. 'Cricket, volleyball, and other sports, we are seeing women in key sporting positions across Vanuatu,' says the AFL's Pacific Development Manager Ben Drew.
The $29 million Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) program is Australia's flagship sport for development program in the Pacific. Through PSP, Australia supports activities to address primary risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, particularly physical inactivity, and address inequalities experienced by women, girls and people living with disability.