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Winnie Mavara works on the One Netball program in Papua New Guinea / Netball PNG

Netball in PNG

Winnie Mavara is a former national netball representative of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and a current coach on the One Netball PNG program, which is delivered in partnership by Netball PNG, Netball Australia and WaterAid PNG, supported by Team Up.

The program provides a sustainable, safe and inclusive system for PNG youth to practise improved hygiene behaviours through netball, and addresses issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), which continue to present as a primary public health challenge in PNG.

Winnie works for Netball PNG as a coach on the Hamamas Lo Pilai (Happy to Play) program, which engages adolescent girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 15 on topics related to self-confidence, communication, leadership, personal hygiene and menstrual health through netball and play-based life skills activities.

The after-school program provides a safe space for children to participate, learn and express themselves through netball. 

“I enjoy being able to go out to schools and the community and share my love of the sport and use game-based activities to share messages,” she says. 

“The One Netball program is important because it promotes life skills that participants would not normally be exposed to outside of school. 

“The program is helping to change mindsets in PNG. It is helping to build confidence and identity.

"Through participation, children learn to share their ideas, feelings, and to express themselves freely. They become more confident.”

Winnie also highlighted that being involved in the program has positively impacted the way she interacts, both as a coach and at home. 

“Through my participation in the program, I have become more aware of how I relate to and interact with the people around me. I have learnt not to force my ideas and beliefs on others. Instead, I try my best to assist others where I can – helping them to become a better person or netball player. 

“Everyone is different, and I work with them and all their different ideas, beliefs and attitudes to create something positive.

"It takes courage to be a coach and to be able to capture the interest of all the participants you are working with.

"It also takes a lot of courage to be a participant, to speak up, share your ideas and be yourself. Sport challenges us to become better.”

Participants and coaches from the One Netball PNG program / Netball PNG
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