Connect : Connect Magazine November 2012
37 The Fafne Tenuku Island Cricket Project, which was piloted this year, brought together 30 women from Ifra Island between the ages of 25-60 and taught them a traditional Pacifc version of cricket played in full island dress. In addition to the regular cricket training and matches, the program - which is funded by AusAID through the Pacifc Sports Partnership agreement between Cricket Australia, the ICC East Asia-Pacifc and the Australian Government - featured weekly practical and theory sessions to educate the participants in a number of areas that currently affect women in Vanuatu. Like many Pacifc Island countries, Vanuatu has high rates of obesity which in turn increase the likelihood of developing a number of serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke (non-communicable diseases). Leisavei Kalsal, one of the program participants, said she has learnt about eating good foods to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure. “In my full life I never really played sport then I chose to join this island cricket program because it also taught me to improve my health by exercising. I now feel a lot ftter.” Participants were tested every two weeks in areas such as glucose and cholesterol, weight and physical measurement. Regular focus groups, surveys and interviews also took place in an attempt to analyse changes in knowledge, habits and behaviours of the participants. The majority of participants demonstrated positive change in habits and diet as well as healthier test readings and weight reduction at the completion of the 15 weeks. Enneth Ilaisa, from the Department of Health in Vanuatu, said some of the women had made major changes to their lifestyles over the course of the 15 weeks. “They have seen the impact of this program in their lives and are slightly changing their eating habits and their ways of preparing food into a healthier diet,” Enneth said. "Women were also given a pedometer to measure how many steps they have taken in a day. This has really boosted their husbands to encourage them to walk early in the mornings and evenings.” The successful pilot relied heavily on involvement from the Australian Partner Organisation the ICC East Asia-Pacifc. However, now through the expertise of Gayan, the project is to be expanded to other villages and be managed solely by the Vanuatu Cricket Association and its in-country partners. Gayan has demonstrated a strong ability already during his assignment to further train Vanuatu Cricket staff and ensure the benefts of these programs remain sustainable to communities for years to come. In Papua New Guinea, cricket has exploded over the last few years and Australian Volunteer Ben Ryan found himself right in the thick of the action when based in Madang for 12 months working with the Madang Regional Cricket Coordinator to set up junior programs in schools and villages. Ben worked closely with local teachers and Cricket PNG staff to provide assistance in developing structured junior programs and data collection methods that will beneft the organisation for years to come. On top of this Ben ensured that a number of junior programs were also linked to health awareness such as a clinic he organised with his counterpart in conjunction with the Provincial AIDs Council for the kids of Guvstor village. Not only did Ben's experience assist in up-skilling local staff in PNG, but it has also helped him professionally as well. "For me personally it was a really rewarding experience to be an Australian Volunteer in PNG, both from a life experience point of view, but also professionally as it has helped me gain employment in my area of choice upon returning to Australia,” said Ben. The ICC East Asia-Pacifc offce is proud of the work of the Australian Volunteers it supports and their efforts to leave behind a strong legacy for their Host Organisations. The council looks forward to continuing its successful partnership with the Australian Volunteers program in the future. Above: Fielding practice Opposite page main: AVID Ben Ryan taking pictures at beach cricket session Opposite page below: Women on the boat from Ifra on the way to Island Cricket match.
Connect Magazine July 2012 Edition
Connect Magazine March 2013