Team Up is a partner of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport. In 2021, Team Up partners across the Pacific joined a cohort of Oceania-based sports organisations in taking the Safe Sport Day pledge in record numbers. With close to 25 per cent of the pledges made globally on 8 August 2021 coming from Pacific-based organisations, the milestone was the result of a decade-long push across the region, raising awareness and championing the importance of ensuring all sport is safe, inclusive and accessible. As the International Safeguards for Children in Sport celebrates its 10-year anniversary and Safe Sport Day on 8 August, we look at 10 ways the Pacific region has been teaming up for safer sport:
1. Leading the way: As a global leader in safeguarding and safe sport, in 2008 the Australian Government became the first bilateral donor and Commonwealth agency to make it a mandatory requirement of funding that organisations have a child protection policy in place to ensure that children are kept safe.
2. Impacting the masses: Over the past 25 years the Australian Government has invested more than AUD $60 million in sport for development activities across the Asia-Pacific, working with more than 60 partners and 16 sports, which included supporting sport federations and regional organisations to develop child protection and safeguarding policies.
3. Creating awareness: Following the 2012 launch of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, in 2015 the Australian Government supported the training and capacity building of sport federations across the Pacific in safeguarding.
4. A global push: In 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched the IOC Athlete Safeguarding Toolkit, which provided key guidance to sport federations and organisations globally. The Australian Government’s sport for development program, then known as Pacific Sports Partnerships, helped develop this toolkit.
5. Change-makers: Ahead of the 2019 launch of the FIFA Guardians Toolkit, social responsibility program managers from Pacific region football member associations shared lessons learnt from their safeguarding journey to help inform the development of this global toolkit.
6. One voice: To celebrate Safe Sport Day in 2019, Team Up collaborated with the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), the Organisation of Sports Federations of Oceania (OSFO), the Pacific Games Council, Oceania Paralympic Committee, Just Play, Oceania Rugby, Oceania Swimming Association and the Oceania Sports Education Program to deliver a regional safeguarding webinar.
7. Enhancing action: The Australian Government partnered with the International Platform on Sport and Development and the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop the Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes massive open online course (MOOC), which includes safeguarding as one of its cross-cutting themes. Fiji has the highest enrollment per capita of learners on this course, with Fiji-based participants taking on board and applying safeguarding learnings from the course.
8. Optimising learning: In 2020, ChildFund Sport for Development delivered a safeguarding in sport online learning pilot project, helping organisations to improve their safeguarding practices. This included participants from several Oceania sport federations.
9. Partner power: With a fit-for-purpose partnership model and safe sport as a key program outcome, Team Up is collaborating with more than 60 sport and non-sport partners from across the Pacific region, strengthening governance and providing access to regional experts to progress organisational and national safeguarding goals and objectives.
10. Championing change: In recent years, sport federations and organisations across the Pacific have prioritised safeguarding and safe sport, working at national and regional levels to strengthen systems, structures and processes, ensuring that sport across the region is safer, more inclusive and accessible to all.
Article adapted from the Team Up website.