Launched yesterday by the European Union, the Australian government, the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office and Oceania Rugby, this new initiative for the Pacific region also aims to promote gender equality.
CIRU development manager Ben Koteka said they were already developing and promoting women’s rugby in the country, and added that the regional initiative would assist them with their existing and incoming programmes.
The initiative will be implemented through a new agreement between Oceania Rugby and the UN Women Fiji MCO, starting with pilot testing of the new Get Into Rugby PLUS life-skills programme for girls and boys keen to play rugby.
Also planned is regional research to help better understand the interaction between violence against women and girls and sport in the Pacific Islands, with a focus on women’s equal participation in community rugby sevens events.
The initiative is co-funded by Oceania Rugby, through Rugby Australia and the Australian government’s Pacific Sports Partnership Programme. Approximately $33.5 million has also been contributed by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), which is funded by the European Union ($21.8m), the Australian government ($10.6m), and UN Women ($1.03m).
“This is an exciting initiative for Oceania Rugby and rugby within the region,” said Oceania Rugby general manager and rugby services manager Oceania for World Rugby, Bruce Cook.
“The Get Into Rugby PLUS programme will create highly skilled rugby coaches who can provide a safe, equal and inclusive environment for girls and boys in rugby.
“Selected coaches will be provided high-quality training in both rugby-related areas and life-skill themes, which will enable these coaches to teach both the game as well as life-skill activities to young players.
“Using rugby values and these life-skill sessions will challenge gender stereotypes and transform harmful social norms, helping address some of the primary drivers of violence against women and girls. This programme will also ensure that more holistic coaches are developed which, optimistically, will be the new ‘normal’ looking to the future,” Cook said.
The initiative will progress its Get Into Rugby PLUS pilot training for coaches this year.
Get Into Rugby PLUS will provide activities to encourage equal and safe rugby participation for girls and boys, building on the Get Into Rugby (GIR) initiative developed by World Rugby.
Regional research planned for the initiative has several components planned to better understand the barriers for women and girls to access sport, as well as the interaction between sports and violence against women and girls in the Pacific.
The research will also look for ways to develop effective social marketing messaging and strategies that use sport and sporting events to prevent violence against women and girls.
- Oceania Rugby