Themed “Play to Build Peace”, the workshop on Thursday has been organised by the Digicel PNG Foundation and facilitated by Eddie Aila of Aila Consultants and Ruth Kissam from PNG Tribal Foundation.
The objective of the workshop is to help sensitise players and officials on how to advocate for peace building and anti-violence through interactive and practical sessions to help them to implement solutions not only in their teams and sports code but also in their communities.
It was a great experience for the players and gave them a realisation of the important responsibility that rugby players have as role models as well as the need for them to display leadership against violence both on and off the field.
Gulf Isou Captain, Moore Evara, said he learnt a lot in the workshop and was grateful to be part of the Men of Honour (MOH) campaign.
Evara also remarked that it is time players as individuals take a strong stand against the prevailing issue of violence and it must start with the players in rugby league.
“This workshop has been an eye opener for the players. We learnt about the cycle of violence and realised that we too are in this cycle. We can break this cycle through awareness efforts so I’m sure the workshop will help us players become better role models for the younger generation,” Evara said.
The teams are participating in lead-up activities for what has been dubbed as the MOH Round (Round 11) as part of the Digicel Cup Competition at the National Football Stadium this Sunday. For this particular round, the three teams will wear special edition Men of Honour (MOH) jerseys to spread awareness about this important anti-violence campaign.
The three teams participating in the workshop are the NCDC Port Moresby Vipers, Central Dabaris and the PRK Gulf Isou. The forth team that will be featured in this round are the Enga Mioks who unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond their control, could not participate in the workshop.
Digicel Foundation CEO, Serena Sasingian, said rugby league is Papua New Guinea’s official sport and has a huge following. Many young men aspire to play representative rugby and look up to many of the players and also passionately support their various teams in the sport.
Sasingian said it was important for Digicel Foundation’s Men of Honour campaign to utilise the Digicel Cup platform to reach this audience and spread the message of peace.
“Rugby being a contact sport with a passionate following sometimes attracts violence on and off the field. There have been past incidences which we’ve witnessed and seen consequences of which have painted a bad image of our players and especially the sport,” she said.
“We hope that by providing avenues like this for training and awareness, this campaign will open doors for the values of MOH to reach and influence the actions of, first and foremost, the participants, players, managers and officials, of the Digicel Cup and rugby league as a whole and secondly, the members of the public, that is, supporters and spectators.”
Sasingian thanked the PNG National Rugby League Competition management and executives for the partnership to allow Digicel Cup Round 11 to be the MOH Round.
Men of Honour is a campaign against violence, utilising the stories of ordinary PNG men doing extraordinary things to change their communities, especially men, to create change for the better.