Get Into Rugby PLUS Program Clinches Prestigious Global Sports Award 

Fri, Oct 27, 2023, 6:15 AM
by Oceania Rugby
Oceania Rugby General Manager, Frank Puletua [far left] receiving the Community Award
Oceania Rugby General Manager, Frank Puletua [far left] receiving the Community Award

The Get Into Rugby PLUS Program has won the Community Award category at the prestigious Leaders Sports Award ceremony in London on Tuesday 17 October. This recognition underscores the program's outstanding efforts in leveraging the sport of rugby to address social issues, break down barriers, and establish a lasting platform for positive engagement across the Pacific region. Get Into Rugby PLUS earned its spot among the five shortlisted programs skilfully designed by globally recognised sporting organisations. 

The Community Award, a highly coveted accolade in the global sports industry, celebrates organisations that use sports to tackle social problems in practical ways, reduce barriers between people or groups, and create enduring platforms for positive interaction.  

Get into Rugby PLUS is a flagship Sport for Development programme that embeds life skills learning with rugby union to promote positive behaviours, support 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.  

Oceania Rugby General Manager, Frank Puletua was on hand to receive the award on behalf of the partnership organisations. 

“This award is very special for our team at Oceania Rugby and reinforces the collective power of collaborative partnerships in delivering positive outcomes” Puletua said, “I was truly humbled to accept the award on behalf of our partnership organisations and pay due acknowledgment to all the amazing people who have been instrumental in delivering Get Into Rugby PLUS across Oceania”. 

UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative, Delphine Serumaga said,“To be recognised at the global level for this award is a proud moment for the Get into Rugby PLUS family, of which UN Women, and our Pacific Partnership donors, the European Union, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand are proud partners. We congratulate everyone part of this ground-breaking effort from inception, especially the hardworking coaches and students who have been working together in unpacking the root causes of violence against women and girls, and how it contributes to gender inequality. It’s also great to see that increasing number of women and girls playing rugby in Fiji, Samoa and across the Pacific.”

“We are proud to see the work of Coaches and staff in Fiji and Samoa recognised on the international stage. Using rugby as a vehicle to deliver learning opportunities for young people can be powerful, and the partnership in Oceania is an example of a growing global movement seeing sport being used to deliver positive change in communities” said Chris Mastaglio, ChildFund Rugby Director. 

In sharing the same sentiment Team Up Program Manager, Ben Howard said,"This well-deserved award recognises the excellence of the Get into Rugby PLUS program's partnerships, along with the unwavering dedication of the development officers, coaches and volunteers who tirelessly deliver the program on the ground. Setting a gold standard in leveraging sports for a more equitable world, it echoes one of the core objectives of the Australian Government's Team Up program - to ensure women and girls fully benefit from sports. Moreover, it resonates with our overarching goal of utilising Australia-Pacific sports partnerships to support all people to realise their full potential through sports."

Get into Rugby PLUS is co-funded by the Australian Government’s sports for development program 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. 

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