Harnessing the power of rugby as a vehicle for positive social change, World Rugby and ChildFund Rugby see the sport as a vital tool in changing the lives and prospects of children and young people around the globe.
Since its inception in 2019, the partnership has raised more than £1.3 million with ChildFund raising another £7 million since 2014. Harnessing the power of rugby to bring people together, more than 70,000 children in vulnerable communities around the world have been learning leadership skills, inspiring positive social change, which in turn is equipping children to overcome key life challenges.
To date, ChildFund Rugby has partnered with more than 30 unions around the world, including in countries such as Laos, Madagascar, USA, Fiji, Germany and Brazil.
Working closely with rugby partners, ChildFund Rugby developed Pass It Back, a rugby and life skills curriculum that supports children and young people to promote gender equality, reduce inequality and end violence in their communities – working towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The curriculum has also been used to support children and communities impacted by disasters during community recovery, most recently in Türkiye.
These partnerships have significantly impacted female participation, with 57 per cent of all registered players being female and 60 per cent of coaching accreditations being for women. As a result of these opportunities, several of these women have gone on to significant leadership roles both within their communities and internationally.
Philippines Coach Facilitator Jenjen said: “My confidence and belief that I could successfully hold a leadership position within my community all stemmed from my experience with Pass It Back. Prior to this, leadership wasn’t even in my frame of mind, after playing the game then going on to coach really helped me to understand what I was capable of.”
ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan thanked World Rugby for their ongoing commitment and was excited by the opportunity to continue to build on this impactful partnership.
“People like Jenjen show the value of what this partnership is delivering in communities around the world. Our partnerships with Unions are about providing opportunities for young people to access learning and support that builds a future where youth can flourish.
“With the support of World Rugby, Pass It Back puts rugby’s values into action via the great game and gives youth a different vision for their future.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin added: “Being a partner of ChildFund Rugby is a point of pride for World Rugby – using the power of our sport and its values to both grow the game and support critical learning for young people is a key strategy in bringing the game to new communities in new ways, including through our new global non-contact version of the game, T1. We are proud to work alongside ChildFund Rugby to show power of rugby to unite the world in positive change.
“It’s inspiring to see the rugby community making a real difference to lives across the globe, and I am confident together with ChildFund Rugby, World Rugby will continue to create positive outcomes for vulnerable young people around the world.”