The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and the Western India Football Association (WIFA) have extended the Memorandum of Understanding which will ensure a further nine months of OFC Just Play activities in the Maharashtra region.
The OFC Just Play Programme was first introduced in India in July 2016 with a pilot project which in 2017 was expanded into the districts of Mumbai and Kolhapur in the State of Maharashtra.
In 2019 the Just Play Emergency Programme was rolled out in Kolhapur in November following heavy flooding in the district. Building on knowledge of Just Play’s emergency experience in the Pacific, the Social Responsibility Programme Manager from the Fiji Football Association travelled to India to support the training and evaluation of the emergency programme in Kolhapur. This proved integral to raising awareness of positive WASH behaviours and practices and showed the significant potential for further expansion of the programme in this district.
OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said extending the Memorandum of Understanding with WIFA shows OFC’s continued commitment to the global development of football.
“We have seen how the OFC Just Play Programme can support football development in countries like Samoa and Tonga, and we are delighted we can support similar development success in India,” Castillo said.
“I wish the OFC Just Play team in India the best of luck as they meet the challenges of the changing world head on over the next nine months.”
Souter Vaz, Hon. Secretary, Western India Football Association is excited about the extension of the MOU.
“We have had a tremendous amount of success and seen positive changes through the Just Play programme, especially during the floods in Kolhapur. And these changes have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as we continue to engage with children online during this difficult time.”
“We are looking forward to working with OFC to further grow and develop the programme in India.”
As well as continuing to deliver the programme in India, within the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, the India branch of Just Play will be working on several other key projects during this period.
Already the team have been working hard to keep children engaged and physically active during lockdown. Among the creative tools proving successful is the use of social media and videos encouraging participation and engagement.
The development of a customised mobile application and web portal for collecting monitoring and evaluation data is one of the priority tasks of the next 12 months. Undergoing scoping for expansion into other parts of India.
The expansion of the OFC Just Play Programme into India has been made possible through the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children.
OFC and WIFA have worked in partnership to support the design and development of the Just Play programme for India. The programme has been designed and adapted to suit the India context, applying lessons learnt from the Pacific programme.