1st Pacific Youth and Sports Conference Report 2010

Tongan youth were privileged to participate at the 1st Pacific Youth and Sports Conference held at the TelstraClear Pacific Center in Manukau, New Zealand from 15-20 March 2010. A total of 22 youths aged between 19 and 25 from a cross section of organisations in the kingdom attended.

Organized by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in partnership with FIFA, Manukau City Council, the Secretariat of Pacific Community, the Australian government, the Federation of Ausralia, the Human Rights Commission and the National Olympic Committee (ONOC), the conference provided a forum for 16-25 year olds to engage and explore youth related issues with a specific focus on Sports and culminated in a special regional Sports ministers meeting with the Minister of Youth, Training, Employment and Sports, Honourable Tuivakano, in attendance.

The conference was set on four central themes – Health – Education and Training– Citizenship and good governance– Social integration and anti-discrimination.

This was an excellent opportunity for young leaders to take an active role in their respective countries. For Tonga’s youth ambassadors, it was an intensified conference that had a dynamic impact on the participants.

The group attended all sessions and had a great contribution towards Tonga’s Action plan which they managed to identify key issues affecting the countries youth which were raised to the Honourable Tuivakano during Tonga’s round table discussion.

The participants also did the country proud with a brilliant cultural performance of four traditional items.

One of the major achievements is the birth of a new project, Active Sports Tonga – Real Volunteers. An initiative to empower youths and encourage greater youth participation in all sports and community activities while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. This will introduce greater networking between sports organisations in the Kingdom.

The implementation of Active Sports Tonga strategy includes the following objectives:
To be the connection for all gate keepers linking all sports and national organisations together by creating a communication platform:
• To introduce Trainers training for volunteers who will be assigned to various organisation to promote sports and simultaneously address key social issues
• To conduct workshops, activities and festivals while increasing club membership interest
• Offer full opportunities to develop lifetime skills with each other through sports
• To involve people living with disabilities and the minority groups; underprivileged and especially school drop outs to integrate into main stream sports and community programs.

This Game plan is targeted towards 14-25 year olds, based at TFA and utilise its facility to conduct activities for all sports in Tonga. Active Sports Tonga – Real Volunteers involves training, educational promotion, youth festivals and so forth to help bridging the gap between organisations.

This program will be sustainable for 3 years and beyond. The winning combination for this voluntary program strategy is delivering the right information and training to the right people at the right time in order to provide a strong platform to develop sports while strengthening and retain a healthy generation for a better future with a great social economic growth.

Participants
Penisimani Pau (Tonga Football Association)
Kalisitiane Koaneti (Tonga Football Association)
Sione Ongo‘I Uhatahi (Tonga Football Association)
Matana Paongo (Tonga Football Association)
Tevita Moala (Tonga Family Health)
Kaufononga Pulu (Tonga Family Health)
Tevita Latu (Tonga Football Association)
Lakei Fifita (Tonga Amateur Sports Association)
Vika Akauola (Women and Children Crisis Center)
Sela Va’enuku (Tonga Football Association)
Sala Veamatahau (Tonga Football Association)
Melenaite Latavao(Tonga Red Cross)
Penateti L. Feke (Tonga Football Association)
Eseta Vi (Tonga Amateur Sports Association)
Sandra Phillips (Ministry of Youth, Training, Employment and Sports)
Pelenaise Manukau (Ministry of Youth, Training, Employment and Sports)
‘Ana Funaki (Ministry of Youth, Training, Employment and Sports)
Pamela Tapa’atoutai (Free Wesleyan Church Fasi Youth)
Luisa Samani(Women and Children Crisis Center)
Mele Vaisioa Niukapu (Tonga Football Association)
Marian Kupu (Netball)
Andy Lui (Athletics)

Officials
Lydia Soakai – Head of Delegation
Kilifi Uele – TFA Technical Director
Lafaele Moala – TFA Just Play Project Manager