Pictured: Roseanne Ulunga (back row, fourth in from the left) with BWF Shuttle Time Workshop attendees and participants
The Solomon Islands is a nation formed of hundreds of islands in the Pacific, with Papua New Guinea as it’s closest neighbouring country.
Currently, a small community of people play badminton across the country, with only three male players competing at this year’s Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.
Highlighting the need for support and outreach to support women who aspire to play badminton, yet face numerous barriers to participation, the BWF Gender Equity programme was utilised to assist the country.
Shuttle Time tutor and Engineer from New Zealand, Roseanne Ulunga, was contracted on behalf of Badminton Oceania to tackle the issue. Roseanne travelled to the Solomon Islands to deliver a two-day BWF Shuttle Time workshop, in the hope of inspiring more children, particularly females, to play badminton.
“The grant was used to run the workshop, aimed at teachers and community leaders who are interested in teaching others the basics of badminton”
“Over 50% of the participants were females and it was very encouraging to hear the participants take the initiative to start weekly badminton sessions every Sunday at a new venue”
With very few venues to pick from across the country, the grant also helped to build a makeshift badminton court to be used for workshops, open days and future training:
“The new venue, which was a spray-painted outdoor badminton court and also funded by this grant, was a solution to the lack of badminton venues available for the workshop and Open Day”
“Funds were also used to run an Open Day which was promoted through the local newspaper to attract new potential players to badminton. It was awesome to see new faces as well as familiar faces from the workshop take part in the public event”
Along with over 50% of the workshop attendees being women who aim to inspire younger girls to pick up a racket, Roseanne’s time in the Solomon Islands was also spent with members of the Women In Sport Commission, who are constantly trying to find solutions to the gender gap in sport, with some promising prospects for the country:
“We came up with a plan moving forward which included running an Awareness Workshop for the National Olympic Committee as well as the various National Federations”
“This would help with changing the mentality around women in sport on a governance level which would in turn have a positive effect on the players if management reflects what we hope to achieve at the national team level – that is a better ratio of women to men as well as having more upskilled women, whether that be in sport, in leadership, governance or admin.”
The ultimate aim of the programme aims to see female players regularly participating in the sport, enabling Solomon Islands to enter in the Mixed Team event in the 2021 Mini Pacific Games in Northern Marianas.