The Grass Skirt Project seeks to help create the cultural and societal change in Papua New Guinea necessary to improve the status and health of women through sport.
Grass Skirt Project was founded with the core belief that not only can sport be used as a vehicle for social change, it also both physically and mentally beneficial at an individual level.
We partner with local organisations to deliver training, education programs and events to participating athletes and communities in Papua New Guinea. Our aim is to promote gender equality, eliminate gender-based violence (GBV), empower women and girls, and to build stronger communities around, and through, participation in sport.
We also support PNG sporting organisations and ambassadors through strategic partnerships to provide pathways into high performance sport for athletes; developing talent and creating positive role models.
A number of our initiatives are unique to Grass Skirt Project; original concepts that our team have developed specifically for the social and cultural environment of PNG.
To facilitate participation in sport in PNG, Grass Skirt Project works on multiple levels to address barriers identified by communities and individuals such as:
These gaps are addressed by:
Continuing from our success in supporting grass roots sporting communities in PNG, the Grass Skirt Project has commenced a scheme to develop Community Hubs centred on sport, with the pilot project being the Hanuabada Bese Community Hub. This Community Hub will be overseen and supported by a skilled Steering Committee made up of local people working in partnership with The Grass Skirt Project. This pilot project, and the extended scheme, will be reliant on receiving donated equipment from Grass Skirt Project, but a social enterprise model to create sustainable long-term funding has been developed to support these initiatives.
The power of sport as a vehicle for social change has been broadly recognised and has been leveraged by numerous organisations around the world. However, the Grass Skirt Project has an innovative approach in that we have created a circular economy, by re-distributing pre-used sports equipment, and seek to operate as a social enterprise, generating sustainable long-term funding for our programs and the facilities that we establish.
Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and sport has shown to have both direct and indirect contributions to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Aside from the abundant physical benefits of participating in sports, it has also been demonstrated to help create inclusive and cohesive communities, by creating social capital and fostering collective identity.
Recent grass skirt project milestones include:
Procurement of 13 tonnes of donated sporting equipment ($250,000 AUD value) and distributed to support sporting programs and development including:
Grass Skirt Project is also involved in the establishment of a new fitness centre in Hanuabada, Bese Health & Fitness, which will be supported to transition to a social business model as the pilot Grass Skirt Project Community Centre.
There is one universal truth applicable to all countries, cultures and communities:
violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.
- Ban-Ki Moon, Former Secretary General of the United Nations