World Rugby and ChildFund Rugby have announced a continuation of their transformational social impact partnership, reaffirming their commitment to rugby as a vehicle for social integration and opportunities for young people and children.

Harnessing the power of rugby as a vehicle for positive social change and Rugby World Cup 2023 as the stage to highlight the impactful work of the partnership, World Rugby and ChildFund Rugby see rugby as a vital tool in changing the lives and prospects of children and young people around the globe.

Since its inception in 2019, the partnership has raised more than 1.3 million GBP with ChildFund raising another 7 million GBP since 2014. Harnessing the power of rugby as a uniting factor for all, more than 60,000 children in vulnerable communities around the world have been learning leadership skills, inspiring positive social change, which in turn is equipping children to overcome key life challenges.

So far, ChildFund Rugby has partnered with more than 30 Rugby Unions around the world, including in countries such as Laos, Madagascar, Türkiye, Fiji and Brazil.

Children impacted by earthquakes earlier in the year are learning in safe spaces through the Pass It Back curriculum, delivered in partnership with the Türkiye Rugby Federation as part of this global partnership.

Working closely with rugby partners, ChildFund Rugby has developed Pass It Back, a rugby and life skills curriculum that helps children and young people to achieve gender equality, reduce inequality and end violence in their communities – working towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These partnerships have significantly impacted female participation, with 59 per cent of all registered players being female and 60 per cent of coaching accreditations being for women. As a result of this work some of these women have gone on to significant leadership roles both within their communities and internationally.

“My confidence and belief that I could successfully hold a leadership position within my community all stemmed from my experience with Pass It Back. Prior to this, leadership wasn’t even in my frame of mind, after playing the game then going on to coach really helped me to understand what I was capable of,” said Coach Jenjen from the Philippines.

Margaret Sheehan, CEO of ChildFund Australia thanked World Rugby for their ongoing commitment and was excited by the opportunity to continue to build on this impactful partnership.

“People like Jenjen show the value of what this partnership is delivering in communities around the world.  Our Union partnerships are about changing prospects and guiding communities onto a path whereby they have a depth of strong leaders that are equipped to build a sustainable future where youth can flourish.”

“With the support of World Rugby, we can put solidarity, integrity and respect into action via the great game and give youth a different vision for their future.”

Alan Gilpin CEO of World Rugby said “Being a partner of ChildFund Rugby is both humbling and exhilarating as it is a project that makes real impact for those who need it most. We are proud to work alongside ChildFund Rugby and show the true power of sport and the power of rugby to unite the world in positive change.

“It’s inspiring to see the rugby community making a real difference to lives across the globe and I am confident together with ChildFund Rugby, World Rugby will continue to create positive outcomes for vulnerable young people around the world.”


MEDIA: Margaret Sheehan and Chris Mastaglio are available for interview.

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Jonathan Sweet

0400 679 329   

Margaret Sheehan is CEO of ChildFund Australia.  Prior to this role, Margaret spent four years as ChildFund Australia’s International Program Director, overseeing the implementation of projects in the Asia Pacific region. Having begun her working life as a teacher and lecturer, Margaret’s commitment to working with young people led to her first international post with the World Health Organisation. Margaret now has over two decades of experience in managing international development programs and personnel internationally and has competed a Masters in Public Health.

Chris Mastaglio is the ChildFund Rugby Director and has been working in sport for social impact for 20 years. He leads a team that has delivered impact in communities for young people through rugby partnerships in more than 30 countries.

ChildFund Rugby: ChildFund Rugby partners to provide children and young people with opportunities to play, learn and lead. Using integrated rugby and life skills learning, young people from vulnerable communities are equipped to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change, and take active leadership roles within their communities.

ChildFund and World Rugby have partnered for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand (played in 2022) and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in South Africa.

ChildFund Rugby is led by ChildFund Australia – an independent international development organisation that works to reduce poverty for children in many of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. ChildFund Australia is a member of the ChildFund Alliance – one of the world’s oldest and most experienced child-focused development agencies. With a global network of 12 organisations, the ChildFund Alliance assists almost 23 million children and families in 70 countries.