AUSAID SUPPORTS SPORTS DEVELOPMENT IN PACIFIC

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Samoa to receive over $US800,000

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 13, 2008) - Samoa is one of four countries in the Pacific to benefit from a AU$10.5 million [US$9.8 million] commitment from Australia to develop grassroots level sport programs, an initiative of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission.

Village-based sport in Samoa is set to receive a 2 million tala [US$806,000] boost from the Australian Government under its Australian Sports Outreach Program.

Samoa is one of four countries in the Pacific to benefit from AU$10.5 million commitment from Australia to develop grassroots level sport programs, an initiative of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission.

The Australian High Commissioner, Matt Anderson, and Chief Executive Officer from the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Levaopolo Tautapilimai Tupae Esera signed the Memorandum of Understanding 6 June 2008, formalizing the relationship between Australia and Samoa to commence the ‘Samoa Sport for Development Program’.

Mr. Anderson said Australia recognizes the vital role of sport in building healthy and cohesive communities.

"Sport matters. It helps bind communities and countries. Samoa has a strong sporting tradition and recently hosted what have been described as ‘the best ever’ South Pacific Games. In partnership with MESC, Australia would like to help build on this tradition," Mr. Anderson said.

The Samoa Sport for Development Program will be coordinated by the Ministry’s Sports Division and is a village based sport and physical activity program designed to encourage whole communities from 20 to 30 Samoan villages to get sports active. Regular sport and physical activities will be made available for all members of selected village communities.

Consultations will be conducted with selected villages to identify sports and physical activities that they are interested in, that build on existing activities, can be run using local people as sport leaders and make the most of available facilities.

Anderson said the activities might be recreational or competitive, and include well-known sports such as rugby, netball and soccer; low impact physical activities such as walking, swimming, aerobics, jazzercise, stretching and dancing, and junior sport, games and activities for children (such as the Fiafia Sports Program) and traditional Samoan games.

"The program aims to provide training and skills to people from participating villages to run high quality, regular and inclusive sport and physical activity programs that help achieve health outcomes, increase skill levels of youth and women, reduce social problems and improve village cohesion," he said.

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