Enabling offenders to learn significant leadership skills, responsibility and dignity through crafting of refereeing.
Based in Fiji, Refereeing for Peace is an initiative that teaches life skills and helps rehabilitation through learning to referee.
It offers both a rehabilitation programme for young prisoners, and also to offer diversionary activities for unemployed youth in urban and semi-urban Fiji, by teaching them to become referees in a variety of different sports. Our current sport is in rugby (union). This is the first initiative that we are aware of in the world to use coaching and refereeing skill. The programmes links a mentoring Referees Association programme and NGOs and their programmes to help develop youth who have fallen on the wrong side of the law, or who at risk of doing so in the future.
Running towards higher self-esteem
Refereeing for Peace is a not-for-profit venture, partnering with FSPI, Nasinu Prison and the Referees Association and other professional support to use coaching of refereeing and mentoring as a development tool for young. In this instance the pilot is to focus on indigenous Fijian male youth to be coached in refereeing as a rehabilitation programme, with the prison officers learning the skills alongside them to continue the programme within the prison and in the community in the minimum security prison on the outskirts of Fiji’s capital Suva.
Partnering the Pilot with Foundation of the People of the South Pacific (FSPI)
FSPI as a regional secretariat is keen to partner with the ‘Referees for Peace’ to support this pilot stage by facilitating support for its managing resourcing and documenting the monitoring of implementation and its success to develop it. FSPI sees value in supporting the ‘Referees for Peace’ as a potential model and guidance for regional prisoner rehabilitation, reintegration and for respectful restorative justice options. It has potential to immediately contribute through sports development and the justice/prison system, to improve health and livelihood outcomes for Pacific youth, prisoners and their families, particular in other cultures in the Pacific e.g. Solomon Islands linked to RAMSI and their community justice work.
FSPI and PCDF, the FSP Fiji Network Partner, undertook a Masculinity and Mental Health Study which included Fiji prison inmates. It acknowledged the importance of sound opportunities to be created for community justice programmes to attempt to break the cycle of repeat offending. FSPI’s Regional Health Programme, through its previous work with Prisons and prisoners, is keen to support the Referees for Peace pilot through its initial year and facilitate the monitoring and documentation of the pilot phase. Referees for Peace 2008 follows on from previous work with reintegration support for inmates to communities, supported through the Masculinity Mental Health and Violence (MMHV) Project 2002-2006. The second phase of this project is Youth and Mental Health (2006-2009) project which has a sustainable livelihoods component has potential in the longer term for sustainability link to the FSPI Mainstreaming of Rural Development Programme (MORDI).
For more information on the project visit: http://referee.societyintransition.org/nasinu_prison_fiji_islands.html