18 Coaches completed the rigorous Get into Rugby PLUS training this past week as implementation of the innovative Get into Rugby PLUS programme begins in Samoa.
The Samoan Get into Rugby PLUS Coaches will work with nearly 300 12-16 year old secondary school boys and girls to deliver the flagship Sport for Development programme that embeds life skills learning with rugby union to promote positive behaviours and gender equality, and prevent violence against women, girls and boys.
Get into Rugby PLUS is jointly developed and implemented by Oceania Rugby, Fiji Rugby Union, Lakapi Samoa, UN Women and ChildFund Rugby.
Get into Rugby PLUS 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, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and UN Women; and ChildFund Rugby.
Vincent Fepuleai, Lakapi Samoa CEO whilst congratulating all the participants from all the Schools, Principals, Teachers, Coaches and Volunteers who had completed the training, said:
"The special skills you have discussed, collaborate and learned though the programme this week will now enable and equip you using our game to integrate life skills for our young people. Your contribution in this initiative is so important to our Community in promoting positive behaviours, supporting gender equality and preventing violence. Fa’amalo le tauata’i ma finau mo mea lelei aua o le tatou tiute lea., ole le fa’afaileleina o lumana’i manuia o fanau lalovaoa o Samoa."
Bruce Cook, General Manager Oceania Rugby, congratulated the graduating coaches via video from Australia.
“Congratulations on the great work you are all doing and your leadership. Your efforts are making rugby in Oceania a safe space for all.”
Chris Mastaglio, ChildFund Rugby Director said:
“It's exciting to see Get into Rugby PLUS expanding to Samoa! We would like to congratulate the team at Samoa Rugby for their commitment to building gender equality through sport and we look forward to seeing GIR PLUS learning across more countries in the region in the future.”
Sandra Bernklau, UN Women’s Representative for the Fiji Multi-Country Office that works across 14 Pacific Island countries, said:
“UN Women is proud to partner with Oceania Rugby and Lakapi Samoa in Get into Rugby PLUS. A crucial aspect to shifting attitudes and beliefs around gender, power, violence and respectful relationships in sports is encouraging coach mentoring and peer-to-peer sharing.
"We know that this is a long-term investment in supporting coaches, athletes, and management to align the principles of Gender Equality with the principles of the sport of Rugby. We also know the results will have a beneficial impact for generations to come. Promoting an equal playing field in rugby for girls and boys, women and men, and opening up discussions about gender, is a key strategy to addressing equality between women and men, and preventing violence against women and girls.”
Building on World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby initiative, and Samoa’s favourite sport, girls and boys in the programme benefit from involvement in fun, progressive team activities led by trained coaches who model the values of inclusion and diversity, and create safe playing environments.
Integrated life skills learning components engage players in processes of critical thinking and reflection around issues of respectful relationships, gender stereotypes and violence to build the knowledge, confidence and resilience. The curriculum uses rugby’s values of integrity, solidarity, respect, discipline and passion as its foundation.
Get into Rugby PLUS commits to 50% female and male Coaches and Players as a strategy to challenge and normalise females in both leadership roles and as players in the sport.
Developed specifically for communities within the Pacific region, the curriculum has been adapted from ChildFund Rugby’s award-winning Sport for Development programme, Pass It Back.
Upon completing the comprehensive training the new Get into Rugby PLUS Coaches were welcomed to the Get into Rugby PLUS Family by Get into Rugby PLUS Fiji Coaches and programme partners via video from Fiji and Australia.
Get into Rugby PLUS Samoa has the invaluable support of the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development (MWCSD) to deliver the training workshops for coaches and teachers. Trialing this training for the first time in Samoa, MWCSD have worked in partnership with Get into Rugby PLUS to provide the much-needed support for local coaches and teachers, aligning the training with the newly launched National Policy on Child Care and Protection 2020-30 to ensure children and vulnerable adults are physically and emotionally safe while participating in Samoa Rugby Union activities beyond the life of the program.