In addition to their Water Safety and Training of Trainers Workshops in mid-2020 around the Central and Western Divisions, Let’s Swim Fiji conducted two (2) more workshops in the highlands of Naitasiri and in Labasa. The workshops were in collaboration with Fiji Swimming, The Fiji Sports Commission and National Schools’ Swimming Association.

Like the previous workshops, some of the topics covered were Water Safety, Basic Rescue and Risks in and around water.

“What made these two workshops unique than that of the previous ones, was that the content of the course materials were localized and adapted to what was readily available in these remote locations of Fiji” – Trisa Cheer-Dunn, Fiji Swimming Operations Manager


Held from the 21st through to the 26th of this month (September 2020), the Labasa Training of Trainers (ToT) and Learn To Swim Program was held at Ministry of Education Conference Room, Salvation Army Conference Room on the 2nd day while the practical was done at the Gurbachan Public Pool (6 laned 25m pool). Facilitating the workshop was FS Operations Manager Trisa Cheer-Dunn and Fiji Swimming Program Manager Amelia Naivalu.

The first two days (Mon-Tues) of the weeklong workshop was geared towards Training of Trainers and rounding it off (Wed-Sat) with the Learn To Swim program. It was the latter of the two that attracted students and youths to the pool with an amazing 312 participants in attendance over the last 3 days.

“A couple from Savusavu heard that we were conducting the Learn To Swim program and drove all the way from the other side of Vanualevu just so that their kids could take part” – Amelia Naivalu, Fiji Swimming Program Manager

One would attribute the high attendance and keen interest in swimming to the untimely rise in drowning cases over the past weeks and there has never been a greater need for water safety awareness in schools and communities.

“Swimming should now be a part of every school as it may help alleviate drowning that is happening around Fiji” – Vilikesa Ranatora

“My mind was set that swimming was for leisure or to keep fit but never thought of it as a life skill till the past two days” – Mere Togamalo

One of the major outcomes of the workshop was to get a lot of teachers interested and educated on water safety and the Sport of Swimming in that part of Fiji.


Three (3) days of classroom work and four (4) days of practical was the highly eventful schedule for the, also a weeklong, Training of Trainers and Water Safety Workshop that was held at the Nakorosule Village Hall.

The workshop was held in conjunction with Fiji Sports Commission that had offered various sporting programs in the area for community youths to be a part of and was facilitated by Adele Rova, Let’s Swim Fiji Program Coordinator and Salaseini Lele, Let’s Swim Fiji Development Officer. Among the other 4 sporting programs that was on offer, Swimming seemed to appear more attractive and necessary as coincidentally the cases in drowning in Fiji had dramatically increased.

“I chose to be a part of the Swimming group because I live right next the river and I lack many of the swimming skills that is needed. In fact, my first job was working at the Grand Pacific Hotel and I had left that to join the Fiji Police Recruitment Program but I unfortunately did not make it through because I had failed the swimming component of the recruitment program. So that is another reason why I chose to be in the Swimming group” – Participant

A lot of youths attended the workshop with the inclusion of 6 adults, two of which were schoolteachers.

As mentioned by Trisa Cheer-Dunn, Fiji Swimming Operations Manager, the workshop content was geared towards localization and adaptation to what was readily available given the current situation or setting. Meaning that if a “Noodle” were not available a bamboo was used instead, in the absence of lifejackets or buoys, tire tubing, coconuts and empty water gallons could be used as floatation devices.

All in all, the workshop empowers communities and individuals, equipping them with valuable life skills. Follow up assessments will be done in these communities at the end of the year giving the newfound trainers time to put in to practice what they’ve learnt thus creating a more Water Safety conscience Fiji in the years to come.

Story by: Fiji Swimming (01/10/2020)

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