Gazelle youths keep busy with sports

Youths in the Gazelle District of East New Britain used sports to keep themselves busy and out of trouble this festive season.

Member for Gazelle and Health Minister, Jelta Wong, funded the 5-day district festive games with K62,000.

Organised by the district sports sector, sporting activities included rugby touch for men and open teams and volleyball for women and open teams that was held in the respective wards.

Speaking during the presentation of awards to respective ward associations, Minister Wong said the aim of the competition was to keep youths in the district free of trouble this festive period.

He highlighted that sports engages youths and is a form of rehabilitation. It is however, important for youths to have pathway and purpose in life.

“Over the years we have invested so much public funds to support sports without getting back any evidence-based data to justify further investments into sporting activities,” Wong told them.

“In fact by now, sports must be seen as a self-initiative rather than an expectation for monetary benefits.

“My Gazelle District Development Authority will gradually reduce budgetary support towards youth communities sport activities. We must see these as community initiatives and not expect money because it totally defeats the purpose. It’s the same principle in celebrations for independence. If our communities value 16th September as important, they must organise their celebrations and festivities on their own without expecting money first from the government to stage independence celebrations.

“Under the same principle, Gazelle District Development Authority Board has done away too with free school fee education subsidies in favour of a school fee loan system managed under the ENB Savings and Loan where parents can access funds and repay as a rollover facility to help other students needing assistance. Due to difficulties faced by parents under COVID-19, the Gazelle District Development Authority will be considering a special relief arrangement to assist parents with servicing their loans.

“We must now divert our attention to the economic empowerment of our youths so that they get involved with economic productive activities such as cocoa farming, subsistence agriculture, livestock, fisheries, tourism and corn farming.

“Our youths are not going to be involved with sports for the rest of their lives. We must help them to become economic productive citizens in our societies,” Minister Wong emphasised.

The Gazelle MP also announced that the Gazelle DDA Board recently approved a 5-year youth and sports integrated development plan designed in a more decentralised way that will see sports with more youth focused on economic activities introduced to communities at the ward level.

The plan is similar to the backyard sports concept focusing on youth and sports for integral human development socially, spiritually and economically.

Minister Wong challenged youths to be economically enterprising by getting involved with the programs initiated and implemented by the Gazelle District Development Authority through the Gazelle District Administration.

Press release