The end of year finale for the Samoa Get Into Rugby PLUS programme came during the inaugural Festival at St Joseph’s College in Apia on 23 November.
Samoa Get Into Rugby PLUS was run in five different schools around Apia during 2021 with plans to expand to other locations around Samoa in 2022.
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.
The programme builds upon World Rugby’s Get into Rugby development program which introduces skills, rules, and strategies of rugby union in a safe, non-contact environment, such as tag rugby. The programme in Samoa works with girls and boys aged between 12-16 years.
A total of 18 teams competed last week with nine girls and nine boys teams attending the festival.
Manuia Leui'I, GIR Plus Coach at St Mary’s College said, “This program has been important for our girls, not only with their confidence and team spirit, but has also addressed issues within in their families, peers and school.”
During 2021 18 Coaches delivered the programme’s curriculum within the five schools which consisted of rugby development activities, experiential life skills activities and facilitated discussion on specific topics and themes all built around the rugby values of integrity, solidarity, passion, discipline, and respect. The life skills element of the programme supported young people in critically thinking and reflecting upon issues of gender and power relationships, as well as resolving conflict positively and violence prevention.
The coaches’ role was to ensure safe inclusion of all participants, and the establish bonds and behaviours among the teams to allow a safe space for discussion around important and sometimes sensitive and challenging subjects, such as gender equality and violence against women.
Held at the end of November the Samoa Get Into Rugby PLUS Festival kicked off Lakapi Samoa’s 16 Day of Activism against gender-based violence activities ahead of International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December. In addition to the festival Lakapi Samoa is involved in #OrangeSamoa campaign lead by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development including the Torch of Hope relay in Savaii.