21 Jun 2010

Researcher believes sport a vehicle for Pacific development

3:07 pm on 21 June 2010

A development studies researcher from Massey University in New Zealand says investment in sport by Pacific Island nations can bring about better health and reduce crime.

Dr Rochelle Stewart-Withers is currently in Papua New Guinea studying how sporting success can help developing nations' economic and social well-being.

Dr Stewart-Withers is also analysing the impact of the current Football World Cup on South Africa and wants to look at how Pacific nations such as Fiji, Samoa Tonga can benefit from participation in the Rugby World Cup.

She says sport can bring a wide-range benefits and in PNG sport is being used to address issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, gender-based violence and inequity, HIV/Aids and governance.

Dr Stewart-Withers says one example is an HIV quiz survey run during the PNG Games, which attracted 6000 respondents from across the 20 provinces.