24 Mar 2016


To promote healthy behaviour and enhance social outcomes among Pacific communities through sport.

Location Pacific Islands, Oceania
Organisation Australian Sport Outreach Program (DFAT)
Start-end date 2009 - ongoing
Target group All residents of the targeted communities
Reach Eight Pacific Island countries with a combined population of over 2 million people
Partners The Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian national sporting organisations, regional sporting bodies, NGOs, individual Pacific governmental bodies and civil society partners
Key facts The Pacific Sports Partnerships is the flagship activity under the Australian Government’s $47 million Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP). Since it began in 2009, the Pacific Sports Partnerships has invested over $29 million in development initiatives in the eight countries involved. These initiatives have engaged local populations with 11 different sports. Target communities have seen up to 50% reduction in the levels of obesity amongst certain participant groups.
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The Pacific Sports Partnerships programme (PSP) is a range of sports initiatives funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. These programmes are designed to support both Australian national sporting organisations and their Pacific counterparts to deliver development priorities alongside increased governance and capacity building in developing Pacific Island countries. This is achieved through the vehicle of sport.

They are operated via a series of partnerships between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and 11 Australian, regional and Pacific Island sports organisations.

The objectives of the PSP are to increase regular participation in physical activity, to improve health related behaviours and to promote inclusive social attitudes amongst the targeted populations. This is done through targeting the population at the community level, including those who self-identify as having a disability, youth and emerging leaders, and women and girls.


Leveraging expertise

The overall programme operation is overseen and managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australia and its national sporting organisations have a wealth of sports resources, experience and knowledge that would not be available to the much smaller and less developed Pacific Island nations. Through the collaborative approach with local partners adopted by the Pacific Sports Partnerships programme, these smaller communities can benefit from these advantages.

Local delivery

While the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade manages the overall scope of the programme, there is a heavy emphasis placed on working with local partners for the on-the-ground delivery of each initiative. For example, the Samoa Sport for Development Programme is implemented alongside the Samoan Ministry for Education, Sports and Culture. This programme then works closely with the Village Fono or Council of Chiefs to support village-level governance and self-determination through the programme.

Phased approach

The programme has taken place over two phases. The first phase ran until 2014 and involved initiatives focusing on five popular sports including soccer and rugby. This phase served to develop an understanding of the challenges on opportunities of implementing a Sport-for-Development partnership program in various target communities and to learn from this experience moving into Phase II. This second phase is currently underway and builds on the success of the first phase, expanding to 11 sports and with increased financial commitment and interaction with local partners.

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Promoting sport and physical activity

Sport and physical activity are the vehicles through which enhancements to the quality of life are delivered by the Pacific Sports Partnerships programme. A range of different sports are covered across all of the eight countries involved. These sports include both team sports and individual sports, teaching participants both personal and interpersonal skills. These on-field initiatives are frequently supported by simultaneous educational activities designed to raise awareness of the importance of regular physical activity for personal well-being.

Provide equal access to sport

A number of the initiatives that operated under the Pacific Sports Partnerships umbrella focus on providing equal access to sports for those that would not usually have it. Examples include the Matua programme in Fiji which focuses on running sporting activities that integrate disabled and non-disabled children nationwide. Similarly, the Youth Outreach Partnerships project aims to increase the involvement of unemployed young people by giving them the opportunity to arrange sporting events and sports seminars within local communities.


Each individual programme is communicated within their own specific territory. This includes communication via outreach in schools and other community centres. It also can involve interaction with community chiefs and officials and spreading information via word of mouth. The overall success of the Pacific Sports Partnerships is communicated on a wider level using the official Australian government websites, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and partner sites. Australian High Commissions and Embassies in the region also work to support Australian national sporting organisations and their Pacific counterparts in the delivery and promoting of the PSP, as well as promoting its success through channels such as social media.


The programme is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. As there are a wide range of initiatives with different target groups in different countries, each one is evaluated individually. Through ongoing consultation with local partners and on-the-ground staff, projects are assessed centrally against a number of metrics relevant to the programme in question. This includes monitoring figures such as participant numbers, falls in levels of obesity, rate of youth unemployment, etc.

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