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The I-CAN program works in remote Indigenous primary schools and communities across Australia to provide children with access to fun and educational health and fitness programs that encourages school attendance and addresses childhood obesity and inactivity.

The program is conducted over an eight-week period during the selected school term and involves a series of health screenings, delivery of weekly games and activities in schools and communities, and the installation of running tracks and fitness equipment in primary schools or community parks. The program also trains and supports local teachers and community leaders to improve the children’s skill, abilities, understanding and enjoyment of physical activity and health.

At the start and completion of the program, children participate in physical fitness and physical literacy screenings. The results are compared against our I-CAN database which includes screenings of over 36,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous primary school aged children from 464 school visits across Australia. The physical fitness and literacy screenings focus on:

  • Strength endurance (sit-ups)
  • Muscular strength (hand grip strength)
  • Flexibility
  • Body composition (weight, height, BMI)
  • Power and coordination
  • Cardio-vascular fitness

Once schools have participated in the eight-week program we will conduct the I-CAN Tour (6-12 months after initial involvement) which involves the children completing the physical fitness and literacy screening and participating in a colour fun run. Following on from the I-CAN Tour, schools have the option of participating in the Colour Fun Run Series which runs at the end of each term for students who have a school attendance of above 60%.


The first I-CAN fitness and running track was installed in the remote Northern Territory community of Amoonguna, in 2013.

The fitness and running tracks are 300-400m in distance and include fun activity stations located around the track to help children improve their physical fitness which is then tested within I-CAN’s physical fitness and physical literacy screenings.

Some of the fun activity stations include:

  • Wall Climber
  • Rock wall
  • Chin-up bars
  • Running roller
  • Balance beams
  • Steppers
  • Parallel bars

The tracks are installed on school grounds or within community to offer community-ownership of the tracks.

A sign is installed at each track illustrating the layout and activity at each station. On the reverse side of the sign is a whiteboard so students can record their time.

The I-CAN program has been conducted in a number of communities including:

  • Galiwin’ku – Northern Territory
  • Timber Creek – Northern Territory
  • Bulla – Northern Territory
  • Canteen Creek – Northern Territory
  • Ramingining – Northern Territory
  • Mornington Island – Queensland
  • Maningrida – Northern Territory
  • Santa Teresa – Northern Territory

IMF is committed to establishing I-CAN tracks in Indigenous communities around the country to encourage primary school aged children to engage in physical activity and reap the benefits of living an active, healthy lifestyle.


The I-CAN Fitness Index considers a combination of the three areas identified as the most important to the development of children’s health and fitness:

• Body Composition
• Cardio-fitness
• Power and coordination

When calculating the I-CAN Fitness Index, the cardio-fitness and average body composition results are weighted according to power and coordination to ensure that each of the three areas are of equal importance in the final calculations.

A higher Fitness Index is an indication of good results across the three health and fitness components, while a lower score is indicative of a poor result for overall health and fitness.

The below graphs illustrate the results across each fitness area, of all students, as a comparison between the first and second measures. Click here for a comprehensive analysis of results across all fitness areas (eg flexibility, strength, BMI etc), for all students in participating schools.


IMP Graduates apply their Certificate III in Fitness and run coaching qualifications/accreditation and high profile within their local community to assist with track and equipment installation, and in some instances, will conduct the eight-week program.

These inspirational Graduates develop positive and significant relationship with the students and their regular involvement with I-CAN attracts and encourages the children to attend school.

Graduate involvement includes:

Amoonguna School – Sarah Landers (2014), Caleb Hart (2010), Reggie Smith (2011), Billy Tilmouth (2017), Allira Ludwig (2014) and Wade Mongta (2016)

Brewarrina Central School – Michaela Skuthorpe (2018), Wade Mongta (2016)

Canteen Creek School – Wade Mongta (2016), Adrian Dodson-Shaw (2014) and Elsie Seriat (2014)

Jervis Bay School – Kristika Kumar (2016) and Wade Mongta (2016)

Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School – Wade Mongta (2016), Adrian Dodson-Shaw (2014) and Michaela Skuthorpe (2018)

Maningrida School – Elsie Seriat (2014), Wade Mongta (2016), Emma Cameron (2012) and Allirra Ludwig (2014)

Mornington Island State School – Harriet David (2015), TJ Cora (2017), Tahli Tabuai (2013) and Wade Mongta (2016)

Ntaria School – Charlie Maher (2010), Charmaine Grewal (2013), Allira Ludwig (2014) and Wade Mongta (2016)

NPA State College (Bamaga) – Alex Blanco (2020)

NPA State College (Injinoo) – Alex Blanco (2020)

Ramingining School – Justin Gaykamangu and Jacinta Gurruwirwi (2015)

Shepherdson College – Evelyna Dhamarrandji (2013), Rachel Baker (2014) and Jacinta Gurruwirwi (2015)

Tagai State College (Horn Island) – Alex Blanco (2020)

Tagai State College (Murray Island) – Alex Blanco (2020)

Tagai State College (Thursday Island) – Alex Blanco (2020)

Tambrey Primary School – Natasha Leslie (2017)

Timber Creek and Bulla Schools – Dwayne Jones (2015)


The IMF I-CAN Championships is a new initiative launched in 2023 to celebrate the achievements of the emerging Indigenous student leaders and changemakers from the IMF I-CAN schools.

With the support of the Qantas Regional Grants program, IMF hosted the inaugural I-CAN Championships from 17-20th November 2023 in Canberra, ACT. Ten students were selected from the five competing I-CAN schools based on consistent school attendance, demonstrating good behaviour, positive leadership and healthy habits within the school community.

The Championships comprised of a series of round robin games and activities based on the Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games (TIGS), which were delivered by the IMF Run Leaders and staff. The students also participated in the Stromlo Running Festival 2.5km Kids Run, team building and leaderships activities, as well as excursions to Questacon and the AIS, and attended a luncheon at Government House with Their Excellencies the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley.

2023 I-CAN Championships Schools:

  • NPA State College – Bamaga QLD
  • NPA State College – Injinoo QLD
  • Tagai State College – Horn Island QLD
  • Tagai State College – Thursday Island QLD
  • Tambrey Primary School – Karratha WA

2023 I-CAN Champs Champion: NPA State College – Bamaga Junior