Play for Change

Oct 25, 2011

Students enjoying a game of rugby with professional players in Samoa for an Oceania tournament hosted by the Samoa Rugby Union. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa MCO.

In collaboration with the Samoa Rugby Union, the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNRCO), the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) as well as volunteers from Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD), Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG), Peace Corps and Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organizations (SUNGO) had a joint event to promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to reinforce volunteerism through a Rugby touch tournament.

Opening remarks from Mr. Tuiloma Pule Lameko, the President of the Samoa Rugby Union and the Minister of Revenue and Public Trust Office appreciated the participation of rugby players  from Oceania 7s Tournament and this great opportunity to liaise with the United Nations to advocate the MDGs and volunteerism. From the United Nations, Dr. Yang Baoping, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and Representative of WHO, also addressed the mutual goals that can be found in sports and the MDGs.

Students from four different primary schools in Apia were invited and played three matches together with the Oceania 7s players in front of the government building. The children and professional players alike enjoyed the fun games. The participation of volunteers from the United Nations and volunteer sending organisations helped the event run smoothly by setting and cleaning up the venue. The spirit of volunteerism shared by volunteers, players, teachers and the Rugby Union was crucial to make this event a success.

While waiting for the players’ arrival, volunteers explained the MDGs and the role of volunteering to the students with interactive games. The Oceania 7s players, briefed prior the event, joined in to promote the shared values of rugby and the MDGs.

The MDG Fun Day closed with the message ‘PLAY FOR CHANGE’, spoken out by both, the children and players, and the distribution of t-shirts with players’ signatures to the children.

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