Vanuatu Basketball making its mark both in country and abroad

International Youth Day is a day created by the United Nations to draw attention to varying issues surrounding youth around the world.

In the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, non-communicable diseases (NCD) are all too common. Poor diets combined with lack of exercise have created an environment with a high rate of NCD’s in many Pacific countries. Thankfully, the Vanuatu Basketball Federation (VBF) is working to create a wave of change.

Since May this year, the VBF have been visiting schools throughout Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital. Their goal is to spread awareness and combat these social issues through the Australian Government funded Hoops for Health (H4H) program.

Using fun drills and games like the Traffic Light Game the VBF are bringing joy and knowledge to the children of Port Vila. This program has become so popular that the H4H program is now being expanded into new areas of Vanuatu.

In celebration of International Youth Day, the VBF ran H4H activities with youth from the Penama Province of Maewo. With basketballs flying everywhere and the sound of laughter and excitement filling the air, the kids loved participating in the drills and games throughout the week.

The VBF’s National Basketball Development Officer (NBDO), Kevin Roslyn and former player and VBF volunteer, Peter Izono ran the clinics from the 19th to the 23rd of September.

The overwhelmingly positive response is reassuring as the VBF look to expand the program into wider areas of Vanuatu.

This visit follows after two Vanuatu H4H coaches visited Australia earlier this month for the first ever FIBA Pacific Youth Leaders (PYL) Basketball Camp.

Daisy Arsen and Manoha Moli were selected to represent Vanuatu at the camp held on the Gold Coast because of their love for the game of basketball and willingness to become leaders amongst their communities. The camp saw the top young talent, aged from 17-20 from the Oceania region, put through a strenuous training program, involving elite on-court skill drills and an invaluable youth development program, focusing on off-court life lessons.

The sessions where facilitated by former WNBA and Australian Opals Head Coach Carrie Graf, four-time Olympian and former Australian Boomers Coach Phil Smyth, along side founder of Reach Sports Management and consultant for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation Mthokozisi Madonda.

Both Daisy and Manoaha gained invaluable knowledge about basketball but also what it means to be a leader that they plan to use in their own H4H coaching session