Tennis Fiji follows concepts of sports for development when delivering its community and schools tennis programs. Read more below on how Tennis Fiji runs its sports programs in line with these values.
Tennis Fiji and Community Development
Tennis Fiji runs its tennis outreach programs following sports-for-development approaches.
Sports-for-development is an internationally recognized tool that uses sport to exert positive influences to gain better outcomes on issues related to public health, the socialization of children, youth and adults, the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, economic development and the fostering of intercultural exchange and conflict resolution.
In order to be effective, sports-for-development programs, need to tailor their programs to a specific local context. In the Pacific region, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a significant burden on the economies and the health systems of Pacific island nations. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer are diseases of major concern in the region and there are three dominant contributing factors; unhealthy diet and nutritional habits, smoking and physical inactivity.
NCDs are the biggest cause of pre-mature death across the region and, according to research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016, only 22.4 percent of school-aged boys and 18.5 percent of school-aged girls in Fiji met the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. As regular physical activity is central to maintain good health and preventing disease, this data suggests that NCDs may continue to be a growing problem in Fiji. Additionally, women and girls in Fiji are less likely to engage physical activities and sport than men and boys.
Tennis Fiji’s community development programs are designed to increase physical activity, introduce new and diverse sporting activities in schools, villages and communities and increase the participation of women and girls in sports in Fiji.
To ensure that its programs are practical and sustainable, Tennis Fiji’s programs are delivered through a range of strategies:
1. Tennis development sessions in different locations happen on a regular basis, usually either weekly or fortnightly, for a set period of time in each location. This ensures that participants learn the basics of tennis, have the chance to be involved in a range of different activities and learn the pathways to continue to play tennis if they want.
2. Tennis development programs are delivered in conjunction with positive social messages and lessons. These messages and lessons are delivered in the form of fun and participatory activities and focus on issues that have been identified of the highest concern by Fijian communities. These messages and lessons focus on health and nutrition, NCDs, healthy lifestyles, respectful relationships and bullying and gender equality.
3. Train-the-trainer. Tennis Fiji’s development officers also offer basic tennis skills training to adults in schools, communities and villages. If desired, the program participants can also request a donation of tennis equipment. These two aspects aim to ensure that tennis activities can continue in schools, communities and villages, through the leadership of community members rather than relying on Tennis Fiji.
4. Tennis Fiji is continually on the lookout to engage more members of the community in its activities. Tennis Fiji has found that strong engagement with parents and community leaders contributes to strong and sustainable sporting programs.
5. Recently, Tennis Fiji has made direct efforts to engage mothers and female mentors, teachers and leaders. This has led to the employment of several female tennis development officers delivering regular programs in schools, communities and villages across Fiji. Tennis Fiji has found this has had a significant impact in increasing the participation of women and girls in tennis programs.
6. Tennis Fiji’s development officers complete additional training and educational programs throughout the year in partnership with the ITF, ASPP, Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) and the Fiji National Sports Commission. These training sessions help build greater tennis knowledge as well as sports administration and management skills, building coaching ability and providing opportunities to learn from people from all levels of sporting communities across Fiji.
The below articles were used to create this page. They are useful resources to learn more about sports for development.
1. University of the South Pacific (2018). Maximizing the Contribution of Sport to Economic and Social Development of Pacific Island Countries: the Case of Fiji and Samoa.
2. United Nations (2005). Sport as a Tool for Development and Peace: Towards Achieving the United Nations Milliennium Development Goals. Report from the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace.