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Just Play is a sport for development programme that has been successfully running in the Pacific since 2009. Through the programme, children between the ages of 6-12 years, learn and explore sport in a meaningful way. The Just Play programme has been contributing to positive outcomes in the area of healthy lifestyles and women empowerment in the Pacific Islands. In addition to this, the programme is also making schools more attractive for children.

Delivered by teachers, in primary schools (during school hours), and by community volunteers (after school hours), the programme engages children through active participation in a series of interactive sessions.

Over 10,00,000 children have participated in the Programme from 11 countries from the Pacific Islands and over 4305 teachers and community volunteers have been trained.

Based on the success of the Just Play programme in the Pacific, the Australian Government decided to give All India Football Federation (AIFF) the initiative to launch the Just Play Programme in India.

The current Project Manager of the programme is Ms. Wendy D’costa and her email id is

How WIFA Just Play can help?

1. Sanitation and Hygiene:

In a world where COVID-19 exists, Sanitisation and Hygiene has become a need of the hour. By washing hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food, we can avoid life threatening diseases.

The terms ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ are frequently used to refer to different components of a sanitation and hygiene programme. ‘Software’ refers to the behavioural aspects of the programme i.e. how children use the facilities, and ‘hardware’ refers to the physical infrastructure such as availability of toilets in schools, etc. The WIFA Just Play Programme only focuses on the ‘software’ aspect.

The WIFA Just Play Programme has developed a theory of change on the Hygiene and Sanitation theme. The three areas for outcomes related to the “software” component that WIFA Just Play is focused on are:

  • Proper hand-washing techniques and knowledge of critical hand-washing times
  • Usage of toilets when available
  • Keeping surroundings clean

These three components are weaved into the WIFA Just Play Programme in a fun and interactive manner.

2. Gender Equality:

Despite the tremendous economic progress that India has made in the recent years, gender inequality still persists in India.

In India, 70 percent of women are victims of domestic violence and 8 percent of men admit they have physically abused their partners according to a Government of India study. Despite the efforts taken by the Indian Government to reduce domestic violence through legislation, such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, the incidences still continue to be very high.

In recent years there has been increased recognition of the importance of engaging men and boys to achieve gender equality and end violence towards women. The WIFA Just Play programme aims for improved interaction between boys and girls by engaging them in interactive football sessions. The most important outcome is that the boys will respect girls.

It is important that boys and girls learn to value and respect each other at an early age and particularly important to teach boys to respect girls at an early age.

The WIFA Just Play Programme has developed a theory of change for the area of Gender Equality. The short term outcomes are:

  • Boys and Girls are encouraged to play together & interact with each other.
  • Boys and girls enjoy having a female coach.

3. Measuring the Impact:

Impact measurement is the process of identifying the effect WIFA Just Play is having on children, teachers, community members, partners and stakeholders. The most important thing to measure is the benefit that the programme will have on children.

It is important to measure change so that we can:

  • Know what has changed for children, teachers and community members on account of the WIFA Just Play programme
  • Know the extent of this change
  • Learn from this process and make improvements for the future.

The WIFA Just Play Programme believes in a participatory approach to impact measurement and monitoring and evaluation. Measuring human behaviour is complex and involves challenges and hence a mixed methods approach of qualitative and quantitative methods is used.

4. Programme Implementation:

The programme was initiated where children were educated in groups by volunteers, teachers or coaches about ‘Sanitation & Hygiene’ and ‘Gender Equality’ through fun football sessions.

Considering the pandemic, a new curriculum on ‘Combating COVID-19’ has been initiated which aims at providing 10 fun online interactive sessions with children with a view to educate them on the importance of hygiene and mental health whilst having fun sessions.

If you would like your Club/ academy/ NGO to be a part of the same or if you would like to assist in any way, please fill up your details in the below link and we will reach out to you.

5. Focus On Building Capacity:

The WIFA Just Play programme focuses on building human, organisational as well as institutional capacity. Evidence has shown that successful sport for development programs cannot operate in isolation- Building capacity of implementing partners, key stakeholders ensures long term success as well as the possibility of a better impact.

Because of the emphasis on human capacity building , it is expected that benefits of both the “top down “ and “bottom up “ approach are accrued.

Briefly stated, the strategy for sustainability and the expansion of the WIFA Just Play programme in India beyond the pilot phase is as follows:

  • Local ownership enhanced by involving direct (children, teachers) as well as indirect beneficiaries (parents, wider community members) and adapting the program to suit their needs in every state the programme expands to.
  • Building the capacity of WIFA Just Play teams and State Associations, to support the delivery, management and expansion of the WIFA Just Play program.
  • Developing broad community interest and ownership in the programme; and developing private industry partners in the region and at country level to support programme activities.
  • Engaging with ministries of education every Indian region to integrate WIFA Just Play into the physical education curriculum.

Be a part of WIFA Just Play to use the power of football to create social change.