The Oceania National Olympic Committee, through its Athletes’ Commission, has activated the “Voices of the Athletes’ Programme” for the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 on Saipan this week.
“Voices of the Athletes (VOA) is a flagship programme using athletes for advocacy and action surrounding social issues,” said ONOC staff Matelita Buadromo.
Buadromo says the VOA team will be at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan from 11am to 8pm, from Monday to Wednesday this week.
The VOA team has averaged over 100 visits a day since they opened the programme at the Games Village at the Grandvrio Resort last Friday.
Athletes are encouraged to visit the VOA booths and participate in the interactive activities the VOA educators have prepared.
“The VOA is also an important facilitator of a Governance and Representation mechanism in that athletes use the platform to also elect their representative to the Pacific Games Council (PGC) which is treated as the Olympic Movement’s Continental Games from Oceania,” Buadromo added.
The current Athletes’ Representative to the PGC and the ONOC Athletes’ Commission and Executive is Papua New Guinean swimmer and now sports administrator, Ryan Pini.
Buadromo said it began in 2007 and evolved into its current interactive format delivered across multiple games.
The VOA has made significant impact, one of the early ones being on a “Go Green” environmental messaging and work targeting pollution and single-use plastic in the Pacific islands with PNG ultimately winning an IOC Sustainability Award in 2012.
The five key VOA messages that address various social issues are (1) Play Safe-STOP HIV AIDS; (2) Stay Healthy-Prevention of NCDs, (3) Play True-Say No To Doping, (4) Go Green-Sustainable Coastlines, and (4) Be A Leader.
The programme facilitators for the Pacific Mini Games include Jeegar Bhavsar (Fiji), Matelita Vuakoso (Fiji), Eugene Vollmer (Fiji), Kapu Repo (PNG), Guinevere Borja (CNMI), Brittany Wally (CNMI) Dianne Pablo (CNMI) and Matelita Buadromo (ONOC). (PR)