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More than just sport

Sports market solomon islands AusAID
Across Solomon Islands, sport tournaments are resulting in large crowds of spectators gathering.

10 Jul 2013

In a remote community in Solomon Islands, a usually sleepy path is teeming with people. A group of women line the path’s edges, beckoning passers-by towards hastily constructed stalls where fresh fruit and other snacks are on offer. It’s difficult for many to resist.  

The crowds, which now gather regularly, have been an unexpected but welcome surprise for these women. The money they raise is sorely needed, especially with so many unable to access provincial markets located many miles away.

And it was made possible through sport.

A healthier community

In remote communities across Solomon Islands, sport tournaments are resulting in large crowds of spectators gathering. These rotating tournaments, which take place in 40 communities across six provinces, promote healthy lifestyles for young people and are being implemented by Save the Children as part of the Youth Outreach Partnerships Project — a development through sport initiative under the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP).

The sport activities have resulted in many young people becoming involved in community projects and embracing leadership roles. In the Buma community in Malaita province, a youth-led beekeeping project is generating income for the community through the honey produced. Other communities have started furniture and agricultural projects with similar results.

The opportunity to host sport tournaments has encouraged young people to work on these projects, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate to visiting communities their success.  

‘Sport is the catalyst for the youth projects,’ says Fredrick Seni from Save the Children. ‘It has helped because the young people want to finish their project before it is their turn to host the tournament. It hurries them up so they can show other communities what they had achieved. Sport activities have also helped to add some flavour to youth activities.’

Looking to the future

While the project focuses on healthy lifestyles and increasing youth participation through sport activities, the entrepreneurship that has emerged is an encouraging sign for the long-term success of the program. It is expected that women and young people will develop transferrable skills that they can use to generate further income.

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