PNG Police Bringing Social Change and Basketball to Local School Children
(C) FIBA Oceania
PORT MORESBY - Armed with healthy lifestyle messages and basketballs, the local police force will be entering schools in Papua New Guinea to address identified social issues. The PNG police department is working in partnership with the Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to bring BFPNG’s Hoops for Health program to life.
BFPNG’s Hoops for Health (H4H) program is funded by the Australian government as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships initiative. The program seeks to use basketball as a tool to educate participants non-communicable disease risk factors and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
“BFPNG is extremely pleased to have the support of the AFP PNG-APP and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, as we set out to achieve our strategic and operational goals,” commented BFPNG’s Executive Officer, Joel Khalu. “This partnership gives the Federation further credibility and resources, that can be put toward the implementation of our new Hoops for Health community engagement program.”
The AFP and RPNGC are contributing to security for youth basketball programs and conducting school visits in conjunction with BFPNG. The first of these school visits began on June 9th where the RPNGC will be addressed topics of drugs, alcohol, healthy living, betel nut, domestic violence and sexual assault.
The first of these visits was to St Joseph’s International Catholic College in Port Moresby. BFPNG partnered with the RPNGC to discuss social issues with approximately 100 students whilst also introducing them to the sport of basketball. The 6th graders were very responsive to what the RPNGC had to say, the officers seemed to have a positive impact on these children.
“Our H4H primary school's program was really well received and we were given lots of positive feedback from the students.”
After the classroom sessions, it was time to get out on the court. Full of energy and smiles the students ran out on the court to go through some fun games and drills ran by BFPNG coaches. The officers even got in on the games playing and laughing with the kids.
“The combination of lifestyle talks and on-court activities kept the students engaged and at the end of each session they were wanting more," said Khalu.
“Based on the success [of the St Josephs sessions] we are very excited to roll out the program to other primary schools in the region, so more students get can get exposed to the positive health messages and the great sport of Basketball.”
BFPNG’s Hoops for Health community engagement initiative commences in the schools and communities later this month through five distinct programs; H4H primary schools program, H4H secondary schools basketball, Pikinini Hoops, Day Time Community Hoops and Twilight Basketball.
The BFPNG also tipped off their H4H Daytime Community Hoops program earlier this week with great success. Sessions are held on Wednesday's from 10am to 12noon at the Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre and are open to all community members.
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