The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) Athletes and Communities Engagement (ACE) Programme through its Voices of the Athletes (VOA) Champions and in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation's Child Protection Programme conducted a week long outreach along the Suva - Nausori corridor.
The focus for the two programmes was to advocate to Sunday School groups, Sports Clubs and the broader communities on the messages Play True – Anti-Doping and Drug Awareness, Stay Healthy – Minimising the risk of Non-Communicable Diseases, Go Green- Keeping our environment clean, Child Protection, and Olympic Values that includes Respect, Excellence & Friendship.
The VOA Champions that advocated these messages included, Marica Togayali (Volleyball), Hector Smith (Hockey), Selevasio Stino(Gymnastics), Joana Lesi (Cricket), Kinisimere Ravai, Laisani Mataele, Sekoula Waqanidroala, Cecelia Nainima and Louisa Simmons (Football).
Vunimono Village Sunday school teacher JosiviniBainivalu said she was grateful to the two programmes for taking the time to visit and talk to them on what she felt was important issues.
"We know about these issues and take them for granted but after hearing the champions advocate, we feel that we can do more as a community," she said.
Nadali Village Sunday School Teacher Vani Kuruduadua said the challenge was now on them as a community to put into action what they had learned.
"The champions were very convincing and now we have no excuses because we know what can happen if we do not act on what we learned from them," she said.
VOA Officer, Matelita Vuakoso said they had targeted 7 communities along the Suva - Nausori corridor with over 300 participants.
"We are thankful to the communities for accepting us into their homes and allowing our champions a chance to advocate and educate on issues that are important to them as athletes and also what we feel is important for the communities," she said.
The ACE Programme serves Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee’s (FASANOC’s) vision to "Inspire the People of Fiji through Sporting Excellence" by encouraging, engaging and empowering athlete leaders to become advocates for the Olympic Values, True Spirit of Sport and Social Messages.
FASANOC's ACE Programme builds athletes capacities in a pathway designed to help them become empowered and grow leadership qualities outside of the sporting arena. To be eligible for this Programme, the athletes, known as Champions must have been national representatives of their sport.
Through the VOA programme, FASANOC is committed to supporting the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) message about the positive health, social and economic impacts of sport on society.
In this regard FASANOC was excited to further promote the IOC’s #StrongerTogether campaign by running Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on Social media, showcasing Athlete Champions who relayed messages on social problems such as making healthy choices, staying active, not littering and antidoping. You can view some of the PSAs on the FASANOC website page: fasanoc.org.fj.