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Life skills to be added to rugby development programmes

The addition of life skills programmes to the Get into Rugby development in Samoa could happen by mid-2020.

Oceania Rugby created Get Into Rugby PLUS with UN Women, and are currently in the country scoping the feasibility of the programme’s introduction here.

Oceania Rugby Sport for Development Manager, Erin Hatton, has been meeting with various organisations this week in the rugby and sports scene, as well as N.G.O.’s and government agencies.

“I think there’s massive potential for the programme here,” she said.

“The PLUS element is about adding life skills.”

The existing Get Into Rugby programmes delivered by the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) exist to encourage children to try rugby in a safe and progressive environment, while promoting the game’s values.

Hatton said those values of integrity, respect, solidarity, passion, discipline form the basis of the life skills element as well.

“Throughout the curriculum we do a lot of work on gender equality and ending violence.”

The Get Into Rugby PLUS programme has been running in Fiji for about 12 months.

“We’ve been pretty astounded with how quickly a lot of the impacts have been realised,” Hatton said.

“We expect some results on the rugby pitch, we expect some results around attitude change and so on but we’ve also seen change of behaviours in the classroom, and some real turnarounds for a lot of kids.”

She said there has been incredible transformation in some of the coaches as well, who are becoming role models and advocates for gender equality and ending violence.

“A lot of those coaches that are working in our programme are starting to be very quickly recognised throughout the rugby sector as quite incredible leaders, and they’re being snapped up as coaches, and as presidents, and as secretaries and so on.”

Hatton said the existing Get Into Rugby programmes in Samoa are very impressive, in particular how they are saturated through so many schools.

“For that reason alone I think Get into Rugby PLUS has enormous potential here.

“The quality of the development officers here is fantastic.”

S.R.U. has seven development officers of whom the majority are female, which Hatton said is unusual in the region.

Hatton said a core message coming out of last week’s inaugural Oceania Rugby Women’s Leadership Workshop was that most of the women working in rugby across the pacific are on their own.

“They’re the only one in the organisation and they’re kinda pretty challenged with lots of barriers and lots of battles.”

She said the next step is seeking funding, likely from the Australian Government and working out how exactly to roll out the Get Into Rugby PLUS programme, likely from mid-next year.

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