A regional safeguarding skills-building workshop held in Nadi created what a Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) have described as “a powerful blueprint for creating a safer, more inclusive sporting environment.”
The three-day workshop brought together participants from across the Pacific region who engaged in discussions, practical training sessions and the sharing of best practices to create a safeguarding culture within sports organisations.
New Zealand Olympic Committee President, Liz Dawson, co-chair of the Oceania National Olympic Committees Equity Commission, told attendees: “We know that when we leave here over the weekend and go back to our homes, our work and our communities, we must be the change-makers.
“And for our NOC leaders, we must take up the baton, as we are being asked to by athletes, by the IOC, and along with our member sports, we must be strong and constant, we must be brave and courageous, and we must stand up for what is right.”
FASANOC chief executive Vanessa Kilner claimed being part of the workshop was an eye-opening experience with the opportunity to connect with like-minded representatives from sporting organisations across the Pacific.
“FASANOC in the last year has focused on Policy development for Safeguarding and this workshop provided a framework to be able to execute our Policy through advocacy and creating a more inclusive sporting environment for everyone,” she said.
Kilner claimed FASANOC’s role was to be able to give athletes safe spaces where voices can be heard and changes can be made.
“Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and sports can be a positive medium in educating the public on matters such as these,” she said.
“Safeguarding is more than one person within an organisation; it’s an entire mechanism that needs to be built to protect our athletes.”
Kilner added said that with Fiji being a signatory to the convention on Human Rights, all National Federations, including FASANOC, have moral, ethical and legal responsibilities towards its athletes.
The event also drew support from the Australian Government’s sport for development programme Team Up, the United Nations Women Fiji Multi-Country Office, and the International Olympic Committee through Olympism365 and Olympic Solidarity.