Oceania rugby programs to target promotion of gender equality

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes, with Lui Nabogi and Kitiana Kaitu during the Oceania Rugby press conference at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Thursday, August 02, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE use of rugby to prevent violence against women and girls has taken another level in the Pacific and Oceania region through the assistance of the European Union, Australian Government, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office and Oceania Rugby.

The initiative was launched yesterday at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.

The focus begins with the Get into Rugby Plus program whereas coaches in the region are trained not only to be successful in the field of play but also to enable them the skills of creating a safe, equal environment for girls and boys in the sport of rugby.

Rugby Services manager and general manager Oceania Rugby Bruce Cook said rugby could be the platform of promoting gender equality and prevent violence against women and girls across the region.

“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,” Cook said.

“This program will also ensure that more holistic coaches are developed which optimistically will be the new ‘normal’ looking to the future.”

Meanwhile, the initiative is co-funded by Oceania Rugby, through Rugby Australia and the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnership Program, and also by the EUR 19.5million Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), funded by the European Union (EUR 12.7m), Australian Government (EUR 6.2m) and UN Women (EUR 0.6m).

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