The International Cricket Council (ICC) celebrated International Day of Sport for Development and Peace with a spotlight on Cricket for Good with ChildFund in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In partnership with ChildFund Australia, the ICC supported the delivery of this pilot project,  giving young people in PNG the opportunity to take part in an integrated cricket and life skills curriculum. The project’s objective was to build important life skills, develop leadership competencies, and improve knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours supporting communities that are gender equitable and free from violence.

The Cricket for Good with ChildFund pilot took place between August and December 2019, commencing with an intensive, in-country training program which saw twenty-one individuals (13 females) successfully become  Cricket for Good with ChildFund Facilitators. These local Facilitators were then responsible for delivering the cricket and life skills curriculum to more than 200 participants from three schools and two villages in Port Moresby. Almost half of all the participants (43%) were girls and young women. 

Data from the pilot shows that overall, the majority of these participants improved in their knowledge of, and attitudes towards gender and violence, their leadership competencies, and their cricket skills.

John, one of the program participants, said: “The project has inspired and motived me through many things. I was shy before, but now I realise that my disability should not stop me from enjoying my life.” 

John was only eight years old when he lost sight in his left eye, which now requires that he wear special glasses. The accident, which occurred in 2006, has left him feeling ashamed; and worried that his friends and community members might tease or bully him. 

As a result, John has always felt very self-conscious and shy, and rarely goes out or interacts with other people. But after a friend told him about the project, he decided to get involved. 

One of the Cricket for Good with ChildFund Facilitators, who has known John since he was young, said: “He has become more open and sociable, he talks to people and participates in the project so well — he isn’t worried about his eye and what other people think anymore. 

“Even at the competition he played and joined in with others, and people in his community really support him.” 

Through the project, John was able to overcome his own barriers regarding his disability, grow in confidence, and learn more about life skills and cricket. 

ICC General Manager – Development, William Glenwright said: “The Cricket for Good with ChildFund pilot progam is an example of the positive impact that cricket can have in communities. 

“In Papua New Guinea, the work of the ICC is focused on improving education, healthcare and child protection while developing cricket skills. 

“John’s story is just one of many examples of how a project like this can have a lasting legacy and cricket can help enrich people’s lives.”

Chris Mastaglio, Director of ChildFund Pass It Back, added: “We believe that every child should have the chance to play, learn, and grow, and know that sport can play a powerful part in promoting diversity and inclusion.

“Working in partnership with the ICC means we can give more young people the opportunity to take part in organised sport and develop local leaders who can help to break down barriers of exclusion that exist in in their communities.”