Launched yesterday in Suva (Fiji) and Apia (Samoa), Team Up, the Australian Government’s Sport for Development program, will support the delivery of Get into Rugby PLUS in both Fiji and Samoa over the next two years.
Get into Rugby PLUS is a flagship Sport for Development program that embeds life skills learning with rugby union to promote positive behaviour, gender equality, and prevent violence against women, girls and boys.
Get into Rugby PLUS is jointly developed and implemented by Oceania Rugby, UN Women, ChildFund Rugby and the Fiji and Samoa Rugby Unions.
The program is co-funded by the Australian Government’s Team Up initiative through its partnership with Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby; by UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office, through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), funded primarily by the European Union, with targeted support from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and from UN Women; and ChildFund.
Established in 2018 in Fiji, Get into Rugby PLUS is making a positive impact on both its players and coaches who are now proactively promoting gender equality and have greater knowledge and support to identify, reduce and report harassment and violence.
Many Get into Rugby PLUS coaches assert that the program has had a transformative influence upon them and have become proactive change agents for gender equality and ending violence.
In 2021, its fourth year, over 700 girls and boys in Fiji are expected to benefit from the program in Fiji.
Get into Rugby PLUS will be introduced in Samoa in 2021 with 20 coaches working with 12–16 year-old secondary school boys and girls. Get into Rugby PLUS benefits from the unique collaboration of high calibre sport and international development organisations, all of whom are thrilled to have the support of Team Up for the next two years.
Koli Sewabu, National Development Manager at Fiji Rugby Union said, "“The launch is indeed a blessing to our flagship rugby for development program, Get into Rugby PLUS, that embeds life skills learning to promote positive behaviour, gender equality and the prevention of violence against women, girls and boys, an critical issue that is crippling our society. Building on what has already been piloted and established, led by trained coaches who model the values of inclusion and diversity, we are thankful to Team Up, Rugby Australia, Oceania Rugby, UN Women and ChildFund, for the provision of funding and equipment to further boost this program which has been making greater impacts on those involved. Many coaches assert the transformative influence the program has had upon them, and have become proactive change agents for gender equality and ending violence.”
Samoa Rugby Union's Taala Tui Komiti, Manager Development and Competitions, who attended the in country launch in Samoa said, "We thank the Australian government for their support through Team Up, a Sport for Development program as we welcome its launch this morning. We are very excited as the Get into Rugby PLUS program will soon be implemented in our country with its focus on rugby skills and lifeskills. It will be a good program to increase our participation number especially girls but also to change players’ and coaches’ attitudes and behaviours."
Oceania Rugby’s General Manager Bruce Cook said, “We welcome the launch of Team Up this week and thank the Australian government for its support. Over the last three years of Get into Rugby PLUS in Fiji we have seen outstanding change in both rugby skills and participants attitudes and behaviours around gender norms and domestic violence. We look forward to seeing Get into Rugby PLUS flourish in Samoa through 2021-22.”
UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Programme Manager - Ending Violence Against Women, Abigail Erikson said, “It is wonderful to see progress towards gender equality and ending violence against women and girls through sports. Through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls programme, UN Women is proud to work with partners who are committed to reflect on their own practices and promote change within the sporting community and beyond. We are looking forward to working even closely together in the next two years in Fiji and Samoa.”
ChildFund’s Sport for Development Director, Chris Mastaglio said “ChildFund is excited to be part of the incredible work of partners in Fiji and Samoa and we look forward to supporting the delivery of a high-quality learning experience for children that delivers, and evidences, learning and game growth.”
Rugby Australia’s General Manager of Community Rugby James Selby said “We are once again thankful to the Australian Government for supporting the incredibly impactful work that Rugby organisations on individual and communities across the Oceania region. The future successes, built on strong partnerships with National Unions, UN Women, ChildFund Rugby, will utilise rugby as a vehicle to drive gender equality, prevention of violence, leadership and life skills. This new phase of Australia’s sport for development program is verification of the impact sport can have on the lives of people and Rugby Australia is proud to contribute to this work and the important outcomes.”