WATER IS LIFE: Lua is the SDG Champion for Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. PHOTO: A. Molen/ PNGOC.
The United Nations in Papua New Guinea and the PNG Olympic Committee have appointed five Team PNG Athletes as Champions for the SDGs. Here is the story of Lua Rikis, a prominent athlete in netball and Champion for the SDGs.
Lua Rikis: Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
As the captain of the national women’s netball team, Lua Rikis understands the influence that athletes have on communities. She hopes to utilise her current work and status as an elite athlete to further her advocacy as Champion for Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Sport has created opportunities for me to work with and be involved with the community, specifically with a number of women. My experience has made me realise that women in our communities provide a crucial connection to water and sanitation; they dominate roles including child birth, family provision and support, water collection and they require proper sanitary facilities. I hope to continue to use my position as an athlete and as a Champion for the SDGs to encourage awareness and change. Sport is the most relevant and most effective avenue for me to reach as many people as possible.”
Lua represented PNG in her sport for 17 years and most recently at the Pacific Games in 2015 on home soil. Her strong commitment to give back to the community led her to work with the international NGO WaterAid in the Sports for Development program, which uses sport to advocate on the importance to improve community water and sanitation accessibility around the country. She raises concerns about the lack of awareness on the significance of clean water and sanitation. Also acknowledging that many people, including athletes, remain unaware of the fundamental importance of clean water and sanitation facilities, she hopes to raise awareness of the effects that clean water and sanitation have on one’s performance, lifestyle and health.
“Alongside my continued work with WaterAid, I would like to reach areas and people previously unreached through the opportunities that will be provided as a Champion for the SDGs. I hope to advocate for Goal 6 by educating other athletes, influential members of the community, and as many people throughout the nation as possible.”
Find out more about SDG Goal 6 and how PNG is supporting the SDGs: