Oceania: Empowering Communities Through Sports: The Hin4H Program in Oceania

Leading up to the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, which takes place on 6 April, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will spend the upcoming days celebrating hockey’s place in promoting peace and development via a range of projects and initiatives. The stories come from across the five hockey-playing continents, with today’s story coming from Oceania.

In the picturesque landscapes of Oceania, a transformative initiative is taking root, changing lives and shaping futures through the power of sports. Spearheaded by the Oceania Hockey Federation in partnership with the Australian Government-funded program, Team Up, the Hook in4 Health (Hin4H) initiative is making a profound impact across Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

At its core, Hin4H is not just about playing hockey; it’s about fostering holistic well-being and empowerment in communities. With a focus on gender equality, disability inclusion, leadership development, and health education, the program aims to uplift individuals and communities, enabling them to live, learn, and lead well through sports.

Collaborating with a diverse range of partners, including Hockey Australia, Cairns Hockey Aspire, and local health organizations, Hin4H ensures comprehensive coverage in all areas of its offerings. From hockey skills training to health and nutrition education, the program is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to make informed choices about their health and well-being.

One of the program’s standout successes is the “Mamas in Hockey” initiative, which has empowered women in outreach communities to embrace sports and prioritize their health. Through integrated hockey and health sessions led by dedicated staff members like Anna Bangalulu and John Iawila, women are not only honing their hockey skills but also overcoming barriers to healthcare access. The program’s impact extends beyond the hockey field, fostering connections and friendships among women from different villages and islands.

Another remarkable aspect of Hin4H is the “Let’s Whistle In” program, aimed at recruiting and training more girls and women as umpires and officials. This initiative has not only increased female representation in officiating but has also provided leadership opportunities for women in sports. At the Pacific Games in Honiara, female umpires trained through this program showcased their skills and confidence on a regional stage.

Additionally, the program has prioritized inclusivity by actively engaging, through regular sessions and tailored programs, individuals with disabilities, who are provided with access to sports and opportunities for social inclusion. This has not only raised awareness about the importance of accessible facilities but has also created a sense of belonging and camaraderie among participants.

Capacity building lies at the heart of Hin4H, with extensive workshops covering various aspects of sports development and management. From athlete welfare to coaching and safeguarding policies, the program ensures that participants are equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in their respective roles within the sports ecosystem.

Youth engagement is also a key focus area, with tailored programs designed to introduce young people to hockey while promoting health and well-being. Through initiatives like the School Visit program and interactive journals, participants are encouraged to embrace an active lifestyle and prioritize their physical and mental health from a young age.

As the program continues to grow, so does its impact on communities. Through participation in international days and festivals, Hin4H celebrates diversity, raises awareness about important issues, and fosters a sense of unity among participants.

In Oceania, the Hin4H program is not just about playing hockey; it’s about creating a brighter, healthier future for generations to come. By leveraging the transformative power of sports, communities are empowered to overcome barriers, embrace inclusivity, and unlock their full potential, one game at a time.

by Oceania Hockeyl

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