A remote South Santo village recently exhibited how collaboration between various sectors of the community can overcome real or perceived barriers for developing community Women’s Volleyball.
Nasulesule Village, approximately a 2-hour drive from Luganville town down a very rough gravel road, proactively requested help from V4C, for its Volleyball Tournament.
Volley4Change (V4C) responded by sending coaches Joyce Joshua and Stanley Toa to officiate a women’s only Volleyball Tournament at the Nasulesule Village.
Santo’s V4C Program Development Manager, Sarai Stephens, shared, “I was pleasantly surprised when Jonas Piloe, Sports Master for the organizing committee, approached us for help. They also kindly offered to pay transport, food and accommodation costs for our staff. It’s the first time we’ve been to Nasulesule and I was very impressed by their initiative to resource the development of Women’s Volleyball in their community. It would be great to see this collaboration everywhere in Vanuatu, to supplement support from overseas funding, for volleyball development”.
Jonas Piloe, who also coordinates the Cricket program in schools and communities along the South Santo coastline revealed, “We had 5 women’s teams register for the tournament – Aplotu United, Waialo, Korena, L.O.V.S, Mix. We were able to award the following prizes: 1st Prize of Vt30,000 to Korena, 2nd Prize of Vt20,000 to Waialo, 3rd Prize of Vt15,000 to Aplotu United and 4th prize of Vt10,000 to L.O.V.S.”
When asked for the source of their prizes totaling up to Vt75,000 Piloe said, “When my club, Aplotu United Football Club, was selected to organize Village tournaments in Volleyball for our women and Football for our men, we sought help from various sponsors. Only MP Edwin Macrevet responded with a contribution of Vt20,000. We were very grateful for his contribution, but we needed much more, so every member of the club with their parents each sacrificially contributed Vt5,000 each towards the costs of running the tournament and the prize money. Each team also contributed a registration fee even if they already contributed as a club member. It was big sacrifice but our village members strongly believe in supporting the development of our young people through sports".
Coach Stanley provided a short awareness about new rules and referee signals for the clubs and referee present, once the prizes were awarded. He stated, “It was good to come out to the rural communities to see their real needs and thirst for knowledge. They were full of questions, honestly admitted their lack of knowledge and obviously really wanted to learn”.
Coach Joyce disclosed, “I noticed that there were many young mothers who were talented volleyball players, so I encouraged them by sharing my own story as an elite athlete. Being a mother didn’t stop me from pursuing my career in Beach Volleyball internationally. I also learnt many work and life skills through sports. Being a mother is more than the traditional roles of working in the kitchen and looking after our households. These are very important roles, however I encouraged them, that if they ever have the chance to further their sporting careers, they should courageously go for it as it will give them a second chance at both education and travel”.
Apart from the Aplotu Football Club, the V4C program in Santo wishes to acknowledge the support provided by VVF, the Pacific Sports Partnership (PSP), Australia’s DFAT, Australia Volleyball Federation (AVF) and Oceania Zonal Volleyball Association (OZVA) which has enabled us to provide capacity building of our coaches, so that they could respond to community requests for support.