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ChildFund is principal charity partner for Rugby World Cup 2021

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International development agency ChildFund will be the principal charity partner for Rugby World Cup 2021, World Rugby announced in a statement. Rugby fans will have the opportunity to engage with and support the work of ChildFund Rugby, ChildFund’s dedicated rugby for development unit, via an opt-in mechanism to donate when purchasing tickets. The funds raised through the partnership will support the expansion of rugby for development programmes in Oceania.

With a focus on gender equality initiatives, ChildFund works with partners, including Oceania Rugby, to provide vulnerable girls and women with opportunities to learn skills to overcome challenges and be active leaders in their communities.

World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Alan Gilpin said: “We are delighted to be extending our association with ChildFund, this time as principal charity partner for Rugby World Cup 2021. The tournament will showcase rugby’s unstoppable women as they compete at the highest level.”

“Importantly, it will also generate an incredible legacy by supporting a new generation of female players and leaders in Pacific Island nations through ChildFund’s significant contribution to rugby for development programmes in the Oceania region,” Gilpin said.

Through a ground-breaking partnership at RWC 2019, rugby fans pledged a total of £2 million. This allowed more than 25,000 children from disadvantaged communities in Asia to join ChildFund’s Pass It Back programme.

Funds raised were also used to support local communities in Japan with the rebuilding effort following the devastation caused by Typhoon Hagibis during the tournament.



ChildFund Rugby’s development programmes not only promote the right to play in communities where children have little or no access to organised sport, but provide important learning opportunities around leadership, problem-solving, gender equality, relationships, conflict-resolution, and planning for the future.

With a strong focus on gender equality, a strategic objective shared by World Rugby, over half of all participants and rugby leadership roles are female, challenging gender stereotypes.

ChildFund Alliance Chair Simon Whyte said: “ChildFund is excited to again be partnering with World Rugby to change children’s lives through sport.

“ChildFund’s rugby for development programs also support global efforts to achieve gender equality, reduce inequality, and end gender-based violence, reflecting targets within the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Whyte said.

ChildFund Ambassadors Honey Hireme-Smiler and Emily Chancellor, former and current New Zealand and Australian players, will be on opposing sides when the tournament commences. However, they are on the same team in recognising the importance of organised sport in girls’ and boys’ lives, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Hireme-Smiler, former New Zealand Black Fern, said: “I am extremely passionate about supporting younger girls as this was how we were raised within our whanau (family). The ways in which ChildFund makes an impact on the lives of vulnerable children – whether through health and wellbeing, education, or sport – is so inspiring.

Wallaroos player Emily Chancellor, who shared her rugby skills with children in Laos in 2019, added: “ChildFund Rugby’s development programmes are incredibly important for young people in developing communities, because they combine education with team sport. Learning through play is a really valuable way to build confidence and resilience.”

“I’m also proud to support an initiative which has such a strong focus on gender equality and is creating an equal playing field for girls and boys alike,” Chancellor said.

Funds raised during the tournament will allow ChildFund Rugby to expand its contribution to rugby for development programmes for children and young people in Oceania, support female leadership initiatives, and support the creation of strong rugby women’s networks around the globe.

ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan said: “Well designed sport for development programs is a proven way to achieve positive social outcomes, such as building resilience, youth leadership and gender equity.”

“ChildFund is proud and excited to be part of this major global initiative to improve the lives of children and young people as communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” Sheehan said.

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