Fiji Swimming Launches Let’s Swim in Suva

Fiji Swimming Launches Let’s Swim in Suva

By Trisa Cheer

In the beautiful islands of Fiji, people are surrounded by some of the best open water swimming spots in the world. People in communities may be seen fishing on the reef edge, going for a dip in the shallow waters, or diving amongst amazing coral and fish. Interestingly enough, though, drowning in urban and rural areas has become a rising issue around the country. The Fiji Ministry of Health and Fiji Bureau of Statistics (FBOS) reported that in 2014 alone, 47 people drowned in Fiji with over 50% of the victims being under the age of 25.

Fiji Swimming in partnership with Australian Aid, Swimming Australia, Oceania Swimming Association, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sports is the newest organization to deliver the Pacific Sports Partnership (PSP) Let’s Swim program to address water safety prevention. With the encouragement of local government, especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Education, Fiji Swimming has begun working with pilot schools to increase access to water safety knowledge.

Under the PSP program, a team of staff are working with school teachers to integrate learn to swim into their physical education curriculum. 10 people underwent intensive staff training with ASCTA presenter Mr. Haydn Belshaw on the Let’s Swim training program, a foundational and bridging workshop, followed by the ASCTA SAT course to prepare for their big task of working with people new to swimming.

On the 6th March these instructors started the pilot schools program with the help of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports in informing the schools. They started off with 4 schools targeting Year 1-3. The following week the schools increased to 6 then the following week increased to 7 schools.

In the first few weeks of the program, they had 565 Year 1 students, 535 Year 2 students and 504 Year 3 students go through the Let’s Swim curriculum. Learn to Swim is new to many of the students, but also teaching swimming is a brand new concept to the teachers of these school children. The program focused on introducing swimming concepts to school teachers through shadow teaching at the start of the program, and have built up the confidence of teachers to undergo an in depth 3 day training in swim instruction.

Fiji Swimming hopes these efforts make children safer in their communities, and bring water safety and quality swimming programs to those who don’t have access to private programs run around the country.


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