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A sporting chance

Sport for Development, Kiribati, Australian Sports Commission, ASC, AusAID, Australian Sports Outreach Program, ASOP
Temaeteke (middle) at home in South Tarawa, Kiribati.

31 May 2013

Temaeteke Carol, 22, is full of energy. This young gun from the tiny island nation of Kiribati has a way with people — when she is with a group of children it’s almost impossible to find one without a smile on their face — and boasts all the hallmarks of a future leader. 

But despite her promise, Temaeteke struggled to find employment. “After completing my sixth form at school, I couldn’t find a job,” says Temaeteke, who lives in Kiribati’s most densely populated region of South Tarawa. “I also have many friends who have completed school and have no work.”

The Kiribati Community Clubs (KCC) Project seeks to change this situation, creating leadership opportunities and building valuable employment skills while at the same time encouraging positive health-related behaviour among young people.

Sport for Development

“What we’re doing in Kiribati is something a bit new,” says Warwick Povey from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). “It’s called ‘Sport for Development’. We’re basically using sport — which has an incredible power to bring people together — to get people working as one to help themselves, to help their families and to help their communities.”

The KCC is a ‘Sport for Development’ partnership between the Australian and Kiribati Governments through the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP). ASOP is an Australian Government initiative that is managed and delivered by the ASC and funded by AusAID.

The KCC Project — run by a team of eight from Kiribati’s Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs — has already established four clubs on the small islet of Betio and will add another four clubs across South Tarawa. The clubs are supported to run their own sport activities and inter-club quarterly sport festivals. Each festival has a health theme, which in the past have included healthy eating, quit smoking and alcohol awareness.

Getting involved

While the clubs have enjoyed impressive early success, this has only been possible through the reliability and commitment of its volunteers.

Temaeteke didn’t need much convincing to get involved. “I’ve always enjoyed sport since I was little,” she says. “One day we were having our volleyball competition in Betio [and] somebody came and invited us to a meeting. That’s how I became involved [as a volunteer] in the Betio Community Club.”

To encourage commitment, the KCC project has a structured volunteer program and range of incentives. This includes a Kiribati Institute of Technology training package that Temaeteke was able to participate in as a reward for her outstanding contribution. The package gave her the opportunity to complete short courses in sport administration, computing, English, nutrition and cooking.

The short courses are credited towards a Vocational Education and Training qualification, building the capability of participants to run community clubs and develop skills and knowledge to make them more competitive in Kiribati’s limited job market.

Confidence the name of the game

According to Warwick, the skills the KCC project provides its volunteers with are invaluable. “The training is geared to give them confidence and skills to be able to run those programs. And as a result they become healthier and more positive, with the confidence then to take on other challenges and grab opportunities.” 

Tematake has now secured paid employment and is officiating for Kiribati sporting organisations — joining a growing group of volunteers who have used their newfound skills to find work.

But while Tematake now has her official duties, she still makes time to hone her own sporting skills. “I still like to compete for my club,” says Tematake, who is taking leaps and bounds (quite literally) in her basketball competitions. Next stop: slam dunk!

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