Pacific Sports Partnerships update: new phase progresses; safeguarding webinar a success

The new phase of the Australian Government-funded sport for development program in the Pacific has moved a step closer to implementation, with a cohort of applicants from across the region commencing work to refine their program designs.

Each program will be delivered in partnership by at least two organisations, with some partnerships bringing together up to seven partners. These are a mixture of sporting and non-sporting organisations from six Pacific island countries (Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu), Australia, and regional and international organisations.

Programs will be aligned to three outcomes: sport programs to attract and retain women, girls and people with a disability, as well as men and boys; sport organisations that are safe, inclusive and accessible; and Australia and Indo-Pacific partners use sport to strengthen relationships and build closer collaboration.

Thirty applications for the program have progressed to the next phase – a co-design process where partners will work together with each other and with specialist advisers to refine their program designs in the areas of partnership brokering, monitoring and evaluation, gender equality and social inclusion, safeguarding, integrity, and media and communications.

Due to COVID-19, co-design activities are taking place virtually through a mixture of webinars, live events, and a new online communication platform. The next major milestone will be a hybrid virtual and physical gathering in late November, with six Pacific networking hubs for in-country partners to spend the day together in facilitated sessions, and those in other locations dialing in to attend virtually.

Re-imagining the co-design process as a virtual experience has been a groundbreaking step for the program, and will likely have a transformative effect on the delivery of future training, gatherings and networking events. Partners have taken this in their stride and are working diligently on their program designs while drawing on their own capacity for virtual working and online collaboration

The 30 partnerships taking part in the co-design process comprise 62 unique partners, 16 lead partners, and activities across 13 sports. The partnerships will be announced in early 2021 after successful completion of the co-design process.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) program delivered the inaugural Oceania Safe Sport webinar on September 30, attended by more than 50 people working in sport across the region. In line with PSP’s focus on safeguarding in sport, this event was part of a global series facilitated by the International Safeguards for Children in Sport Working Group and delivered in partnership with Organisation of Sports Federations of Oceania (OSFO), Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC), Pacific Games Council (PGC) and Oceania Paralympic Committee (OPC).

The webinar introduced key safeguarding concepts and featured guests from Pacific sports organisations who spoke about their first-hand experience of safeguarding. Feedback from participants was extremely positive, with 100 per cent of attendees saying they would like to take part in further webinars or workshops about practical steps to improve safeguarding within their organisation, and 98 per cent describing the event as ‘relevant’ or ‘very relevant’.