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Rugby, a tool to inspire change in Kadavu

Kadavu is the fourth largest island in Fiji with an area of 411 square kilometers and a population of over 11,000 people in-island.

Kadavu is a young volcanic island consisting of rich volcanic soil with rich vegetation, making it an ideal place for farming.

For over half a century Kadavu Island has been perceived as Fiji’s drug capital, looking at the Marijuana farming activity going about on the Island.

Not all, but some youths on the Island associate themselves with this illegal activity which has been an ongoing issue hitherto. The Government has been trying to eradicate this ongoing problem which is one major hurdle they have been dealing with, and with all approaches they take, it seems that the drug issue continues to ramp up.

Last month the Kadavu Provincial Council together with Fiji Rugby Union, Kadavu Rugby Union(KRU), and other government stakeholders mapped out a long-term development plan during the Kadavu Rugby Union Annual General Meeting.

These development plans consist of various interlinked plans of tackling the ongoing drug issue, bring into light the vast rugby talents the island can produce, and mapping out paths to follow in boosting Kadavu Rugby to a new level.

Kadavu has produced numerous rugby stars with the likes of  Tuimasi Tubananitu, Sela Gutugutuiwai, Isikeli Cagilaba, Sale Sorovaki, Leone Nakarawa, Setareki Tawake, Sevu Reece, Albert Tuisue, Sireli Naqelevuki just to name a few, and most of them were island breed, making their mark in the Island Zone competition back then, before coming into the limelight.

As Nelson Mandela said, “Sport has the power to change the world, It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little one does, it speaks to youth in a language they understand, sport can create hope, where there was only despair.”

In a way, rugby has the power to tackle the ongoing issue on the island, it can be a tool of change, it can inspire the youths to take a different approach with their lives, and it can create hope while also changing the perception towards Kadavu.

No doubt all these goals can become reality if taken the right approach, and KRU together with FRU has begun this approach.

The first stage of this long-term development plan began last month where FRU introduced rugby training & education courses while also held capacity building workshop for coaches who attended the 3 weeks FRU Development programme on the island.

Fiji Rugby Development Unit Manager Koli Sewabu said that in order for Kadavu to achieve their rugby development plan, then the first step is to get their governance and structure right, which is where FRU development programme comes in.

One of the key issue that was brough to us through the council in Kadavu is drugs, and a very effective way to increase awareness and drive youths away from this is using rugby, as a vehicle for change, it’ll surely influence the youths if taken the right approach, which is what we’re aiming to do right now,” said Sewabu.

The long-term development plan is linked with various rugby pathways which begins with mapping out the journey to be taken, building coaches Knowledge, skills, and experience, developing managers, S&C Coaches, First Aid in Rugby, Match Officiating, Capacity Building, and developing Grounds and Gyms.

All these pathways are the right recipe to take Kadavu rugby to a whole new level, produce more in-island talents, and change the youth’s perception towards what they want to pursue in life.

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