World Rugby and ChildFund Rugby have announced a continuation of their transformational social impact partnership, reaffirming their commitment to use rugby as a vehicle to support diversity, inclusion and learning opportunities for children and young people across the world.  

Harnessing the power of rugby as a vehicle for positive social change, World Rugby and ChildFund Rugby see the sport 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 to bring people together, more than 70,000 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.

To date, ChildFund Rugby has partnered with more than 30 Unions around the world, including in countries such as Laos, Madagascar, USA, Fiji, Germany and Brazil.

Working closely with rugby partners, ChildFund Rugby has developed Pass It Back, a rugby and life skills curriculum that supports children and young people to promote gender equality, reduce inequality and end violence in their communities – working towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The curriculum has also been used to support children and communities impacted by disasters during community recovery, most recently in Türkiye.

These partnerships have significantly impacted female participation, with 57 per cent of all registered players being female and 60 per cent of coaching accreditations being for women. As a result of these opportunities, 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 providing opportunities for young people to access learning and support that builds a future where youth can flourish.”

“With the support of World Rugby, Pass It Back puts rugby’s values into action via the great game and gives youth a different vision for their future.”

Alan Gilpin CEO of World Rugby said “Being a partner of ChildFund Rugby is a point of pride for World Rugby – using the power of our sport and its values to both grow the game and support critical learning for young people is a key strategy in bringing the game to new communities in new ways, including through our new global non-contact version of the game, T1. We are proud to work alongside ChildFund Rugby to show 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

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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 completed 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 worked with partners to deliver evidenced change in communities for young people in more than 30 countries.

ChildFund Rugby partners to use rugby as a powerful tool to create positive social impact that supports children and young people to play, learn, and lead. ChildFund Rugby’s partners use Pass It Back, a set of integrated rugby and life skills learning products, that enable children and young people in vulnerable communities to develop critical social and emotional skills, and equip them to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change, and take leadership roles in their lives.

ChildFund and World Rugby have partnered for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand (played in 2022) Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in South Africa, and Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

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.