Netball has always been a stronghold in the Southern Hemisphere, led by giants of the game, New Zealand and Australia. With Fiji earning the rights to host the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup, development of the sport in the entire region is now moving faster than ever. This has been boosted by the new partnership that has recently been launched by Netball New Zealand.
Netball New Zealand is currently taking on a 5 year project with 4 other Pacific countries to strengthen and enhance the development of netball within the region. New Zealand will work with Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa over the next 5 years to tackle a range of subjects such as promoting a healthy lifestyle, higher participation rates and eventually leave the countries with a self-sustaining system.
Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand, Jennie Wyllie, says: “It really is about looking at the bigger picture and what it will take to see growth in all of those areas.” Wyllie was also keen to state the impact the programme will have on empowering women and its potential effects on society: “While the partnership aims to support both girls and boys to be active, the netball initiative is likely to have a greater focus on girls. Research shows if you invest in women, you invest into society.”
The partnership was suggested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade within the New Zealand Government. Netball New Zealand has distinguished four key principles when implementing this programme:
- Hand up not hand out
- Support from agencies of the country (e.g. government)
- The National Netball Federation must be fully engaged
- Structure established must be/become sustainable within the country.
The initial focus of the programme will be on local schools – where healthy lifestyle and sports participation will be promoted. The programme will also provide an infrastructure, support and specific equipment for any teachers, volunteers and coaches onboard with the programme. “We want to target teachers and volunteers who are new to coaching and help provide the necessary infrastructure”, says Wyllie.
Currently, the programme has been launched in Fiji with the Cook Islands next to follow. For more information about the programme, please go to here.
Image credit – Netball New Zealand