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Australian sports volunteer brings surfing to kakabona community

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Josiah McCarthy is an Australian volunteer working as a Sports Development Officer for the National Sports Council of Solomon Islands. His role is to encourage more Solomon Islanders to improve their health and wellbeing, and use health and fitness programs to reduce antisocial behaviour.

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Josiah leads several programs:

  • ‘School Physical Activity’: a partnership program with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD), Solomon Islands Red Cross Society, and White River Community High School where students are participate in fun games and activities to improve their health and love of sport.

  • ‘Public Servants Physical Activity’: specifically designed for Solomon Islands government workers which he hopes to commence next year.

Josiah is a passionate young volunteer who previously volunteered as a Talent Pathway Officer with Solomon Islands National Institute of Sport (SINIS) in 2020 -2021.

Josiah’s journey as a volunteer in Solomon Islands began through Australia’s New Colombo Plan Scholarship in 2019. He spent two weeks volunteering in Honiara and travelled to a remote village in Kwaio, Malaita Province, where he and other volunteers ran volleyball and soccer programs for children and women.

Josiah was enriched by learning about and experiencing village life in remote Solomon Islands. It shifted his perspective and introduced him to a different world than from where he came. He was also struck by how deeply entrenched physical activity was in the daily routine of village life – from going to the garden, to playing sports and kastom dancing.

Josiah now resides in Kakabona, west of Honiara with a host family. “Before moving to Kakabona, I would go there to surf and watch the sun rise almost every morning. That’s how I started developing this bond with the people there. Since August this year, I started giving back to the community by teaching kids and a few interested adults how to paddle and surf, swim and embark on small-scale clean-up campaign programs”.

Through his passion for surfing, he was able to develop a very strong relationship and connection with the community in Kakabona. As Josiah’s activities gained attraction attracted more children, Josiah needed more surfboards. So, instead of paying for the surfboards himself, Josiah asked those wanting to learn to surf to earn money to buy their own surfboards. With his encouragement they started to clean up the beach and remove discarded plastic bottles for money, others climbed for mangos and sold them, and some dug up and sold topsoil for plants. Eventually they made enough money to get surfboards for all who wanted them.

Josiah established the first ever Guadalcanal Surfing Association; teaming up with community members at Olotsara, Hulavu West Guadalcanal to create the association and host the first ever Guadalcanal Surfing Competition last month.

He loves volunteering because he can put to use the skills and knowledge he has in sport to make a positive difference.

Josiah is an Australian Volunteer who has immersed himself in the Solomon Islands community and is one of many who has forged genuine people-to-people ties which are the heart of the Solomon Islands – Australia Partnership.

ENDS//

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