Hockey Australia has recently formed a new partnership with our Pacific Island neighbors – Hockey Vanuatu!
Hockey is a new and rapidly progressing sport in Vanuatu. After only 5 years in action, Hockey has reached hundreds of men, women and children in villages all around Vanuatu’s main island, Efate.
One of the Vanuatu’s major projects has been to implement the Pikinini Hockey Program (PHP) to introduce hockey at a grassroots level into schools around Efate. After only six months in action, the program has achieved some great results, implementing a fun, healthy and sustainable plan into schools curriculums thanks to support from the Australia Sports Outreach Program and the Australian High Commission of Vanuatu.
To assist schools in developing an ongoing hockey program, PHP has identified the need to build the capacity of local school teachers, passing on skills and knowledge for them to use in the future. “Training the teachers is the best chance of making our program sustainable” says VHF President George Kalkaua.
To apply this, Hockey Australia’s Games Education Manager, John Mowat, was invited to Port Vila to run a Coach the Coaches Clinic.
The three day clinic was attended by over 40 school teachers from around the main island. The eager participants made the journey to Vanuatu’s one synthetic field at Wansmolbag Youth Centre, to learn the basic rules, techniques and structure of hockey. Hockey Australia coaching DVDs and Kookaburra hats were generously given out, to the delight of all participants.
The program was designed to give teachers valuable coaching tools and techniques to implement regular hockey programs at their schools, giving children the chance to participate and develop their skills. “I am confident they will be able to take back their new found knowledge and introduce hockey into their school successfully,” says Mowat.
Many of the clinic participants traveled from villages up in the north of Efate, of which hockey has become widely popular. Children, youth, men and women have made the most of the limited resources at hand, playing barefoot, with worn down hook sticks, on a gravel field on the side of the main road. Drive by any afternoon of the week and you are sure to see a vigorous game being played.
Looking at villages such as these, it is clear that hockey has the potential to grow and develop in Vanuatu. At this stage, the greatest challenge to future growth is just one thing: equipment. All equipment so far has been thanks to individual and club donations from Australia and New Zealand.
Recent generous donations from Victorian clubs Camberwell, Ajax and TEMs Hockey clubs have seen an injection of quality equipment into the hockey scene, including new goalie gear, children’s sticks, uniforms and shinguards. On top of this a number of high quality second hand sticks were collected and flown across that will be used by the Vanuatu National Mens and Womens teams in their first international tournament in Suva, Fiji at the end of the year.
The Vanuatu Hockey Federation is always looking for donations of reasonable quality second hand hockey equipment, with hope of spreading its program around to other islands in Vanuatu.
It is also looking to raise all funds to send the mens and womens national team to The Pacific Games, in Suva, Fiji at the end of the year. This competition, which will be the womens first ever international tournament, is played against a range of pacific nations including Australia Country, to develop and provide further experience and skills around the Pacific.
To find out more about helping the fundraising effort for the men’s and women’s international campaign, visit: http://igg.me/p/201241?a=228995
Source: Hockey Australia Website
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