Three Pacific women are about to board a plane for the Women’s World Cup (WWC) in France, but they will not be playing football.
The broadcasters will be taking part in a ground-breaking world first pilot project for women’s sport, and they got there through training funded by Australia.
Adele Willie and Jennesa Hinge Moli from Vanuatu, and Lavenia Yalovi from Fiji have spent the last eight months preparing for this moment – to commentate for FIFA at the Women’s World Cup.
They have been trained through the Women in News and Sport (WINS) program funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs.
WINS is run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s International Development (ABCID) unit and aims to increase the opportunities for women in sports journalism.
Adele says it is perfect timing to be broadcasting football in local languages, in the United Nations Year of the Indigenous Languages.
“Jennesa and I will be commentating in Bislama and Lavenia in Fijian. Oceania Football Confederation’s theme for this year is promoting indigenous language.”
They are accompanying Aaron Kearney – an Australian media consultant who designed and delivered the commentary training for ABCID.
Aaron says Australia and the Pacific are leading the way and the team will do the region proud.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ABC International Development deserve a lot of credit for having the vision to support this concept and see the wonderful possibilities.
“To now have an Australian-developed idea taken on by an organisation like FIFA and showcased at the World Cup is great recognition for all involved.”
This once in a lifetime opportunity in France follows the success of the WINS activity for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.
The three women were part of a team that made history last November — producing a live broadcast of the semi-finals by Pacific women in the Bislama and iTaukei Fijian languages, as well as English.
The group were invited to the WWC by FIFA and under Aaron’s mentorship the women will be bringing Pacific language radio commentary to ten countries across the Pacific and the Oceania Football Confederation website.
The Australian High Commissioner, Jenny Da Rin, was delighted to meet Adele and Jennesa before leaving Vanuatu to wish them all the best during this amazing experience.
“I’m proud Australia is enabling people all across Vanuatu to follow the Women’s World Cup in Bislama through VBTC’s Radio Vanuatu and Television Blong Vanuatu,” said Commissioner Da Rin.
The World Cup kicks off on June 7.