Eight inspiring Pacific community-based organisations have been selected as recipients of Team Up’s Play for Equity Fund, which aims to support innovative community programs that progress gender justice in and through sport across the Pacific.
The fund is being administered by Team Up, with support from Women Win, and is trialling the mobilisation of unrestricted funding for such programs in the region.
The eight recipients were chosen from a total of 55 applications and were selected by a committee comprising six experts in women’s rights, feminist activism, and sport from the Pacific.
The Play for Equity fund grant recipients are:
- Fiji: Seaqaqa Pride Hub (Traditional games and play)
- Fiji: Sports Committee of Lomaivuna High School (Rugby League)
- Kiribati: Nei Mom Uprising and BIMBA (Multisport)
- Papua New Guinea: Black Pearl Rugby League Club Safe House (Rugby League)
- Samoa: Seagles (Outrigger Canoeing)
- Solomon Islands: Solomon Islands Hockey Federation (Hockey)
- Solomon Islands: Western Solomons Surfing Association (Surfing)
- Tonga: Ha’apai Women’s Rugby (Rugby Union)
Selection committee member Carolyn Ngiraidis, who is also an executive board member for the Equity Commission Oceania at the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) based in Palau, said the committee was impressed with the diversity of applications, including a range from rural areas and from youth, elders, people with disability and LBGTQI+ people.
“During my review process I was pleased to see some innovative initiatives, and the commitment to promote gender equity and equality led by members of vulnerable and marginalised communities. I wish all applicants could have been funded, however there is opportunity for other potential donors to fund the unselected applicants.
“Sometimes we stress for an organised structure for delivering any funding, but we need to be aware of the Pacific realities in rural and remote areas and provide community-based groups an opportunity to shine. The Play for Equity Fund provides unrestricted funding to create fair and equal play.”
Two Kiribati-based organisations, Nei Mom Uprising and Boutokaan Inaomataia ao Mauriia Binabinaine Association (BIMBA), successfully applied as a partnership. Nei Mom Uprising founder, Ririere Kumkee, said that their members are grateful to have been chosen as one of the grantees.
“Our members and our BIMBA sisters are excited to be selected for the Play for Equity fund. This timely support has brought new energy to our members and the communities we work across. We are all just over the moon and look forward to rolling out our project in 2023, which aims to use the sports of netball and traditional games to change the negative attitudes people have towards mothers and the LGBTQI+ community.”
Team Up Social Inclusion Specialist, Roshika Deo, highlighted that the Play for Equity Fund gives smaller Pacific community groups, particularly those with fewer resources, an opportunity to access financial support.
“We are pleased with the number of applications we received and look forward to supporting the selected Pacific grantees. This opportunity gives smaller programs who work in rural and hard-to-reach areas across the Pacific a chance to access unrestricted small grants funding.
"The groups that have been selected are dedicated to ensuring people with disability and diverse gender identities get the opportunity to engage in, and excel, through sport, and challenge gender norms. The confidence and knowledge that participants gain from being part of these activities often translates to other aspects of their lives which, in turn, creates a positive ripple effect towards advancing gender equality in society.”
Women Win Program Coordinator, Mia Weinland, expressed her excitement about the work being done across the Pacific to advance gender equity through sport.
"We know sport can often be a place where intersectional discrimination can limit access to sport and the power it harnesses for social change for so many. From the Play for Equity Fund’s application process, it is clear there is so much incredible work being done across the Pacific region to advance the rights of girls, women, and people of diverse gender identities.
“We are especially excited about the Play for Equity Fund’s approach to sharing decision-making power and shifting resource allocation decisions to individuals and groups at the centre of feminist movements. It was an honour to work with and learn from the selection committee throughout this process, and we look forward to continuing to innovate ways to resource initiatives that advance gender justice through our work with Team Up."
The Play for Equity Fund allows recipients to access up to AUD $15,000 in support. The eight selected grantees are set to begin delivering their supported programs in early 2023.