Australian Awards Fellowship: Inclusivity and diversity in sport: Fiji and Tonga

The Fellowship promoted inclusivity and diversity in sport in two Pacific Island countries, Fiji and Tonga. Fellows represented sporting organisations, policy makers and community organisations. They attended Melbourne for a two week course in December 2015.

Fiji Fellows were the Council of Social Services, National Sports Commission, FJN+ (HIV positive group), Rainbow Pride Foundations. Tongan Fellows were the Family Health Association, Leitis Foundation, Rugby League, Talitha Project and the Sports Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

They learnt about inclusivity and diversity in rugby and other sports in Fiji and Tonga, with a specific focus on gender, sexual identity and disability. They also learnt how inclusivity and diversity affect public health issues for specific groups.

Australian partner organisations assisted Burnet. These included the Melbourne Chargers gay rugby team, the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club. They led discussions about the issues experienced by minority groups due to persistent marginalisation and the resultant public health concerns. These include problematic drug and alcohol use, spread of disease, gender-based violence, and mental health issues.

The program included a full day workshop at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, facilitated by staff from the ‘Fair go, sport!’ program, to educate Fellows about sexuality and gender inclusiveness. There was also a workshop on gender-based violence, coordinated by staff from both the Burnet Institute and White Ribbon, Australia’s only national, male-led organisation with the goal of ending men’s violence against women. And two days training on disability inclusiveness in sport, facilitated by staff from ‘Play by the Rules,’ an Australian organisation with the goal of ensuring that sport and recreation environments are ‘safe, fair and inclusive.’

Burnet staff then guided the Fellows in the development and implementation of initiatives designed to successfully promote inclusivity and diversity, and address inequality, at community and national levels upon the Fellows’ return to their respective countries. Burnet promoted constructive links between community based organisations, government departments and sporting organisations.


December 2015

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Chad Hughes

Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination; Acting Regional Director, Mekong