A Sporting Opportunity for Community Development in Vanuatu

Thursday, 29 June 2017


An exciting community development assignment in the South Pacific is currently underway for Bachelor of Development Studies graduate, Jessica Richardson, who commenced a twelve month appointment with the Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) in April.

One of six positions offered across the Pacific region, Jessica’s role as Disability Inclusion Officer will focus on utilising sport for development by improving the capacity of sports organisations to increase the participation of people with a disability in sports programs, particularly females. In addition to fostering stakeholder relationships to facilitate effective partnerships across the disability and sport sector in Vanuatu, Jessica will support people with disabilities at the individual and club level to promote disability sport for the Pacific Games VAN2017.

Jessica’s passion for community development and humanitarianism enticed her to apply for the position, which was advertised through the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program. The program is an Australian government initiative that provides diverse international volunteer opportunities for skilled Australians to aid sustainable economic growth and poverty decline in partner countries. Not only did the role align with her health promotion and cross-cultural community development studies, but Jessica declared that her prior experience competing at an elite level in rowing also influenced her decision to apply, as it enabled her to experience first-hand the benefits that sport can provide.

“I have always believed that sport provides a wonderful pathway to community development, through inclusion and health promotion, and when I saw the position available I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do… this will be an incredible opportunity to work in a developing international setting to promote people with disabilities in sports programs and highlight how effective sport can be as an agent of change within community development.”