Coaches are developing key skills to support equal and safe rugby participation for girls and boys for the new Get Into Rugby PLUS life-skills programme.
Get Into Rugby PLUS (GIR PLUS) is part of a broader initiative using rugby to prevent violence against women and girls and promote gender equality, which is being implemented regionally by Oceania Rugby and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO).
It 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).
The training, held in Nadi from 18-22 August, was delivered by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) in partnership with UN Women.
“The training provided by UN Women and FWCC has been incredibly enlightening and educational,” said participant, Vela Naucukidi, Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) Women’s Development Officer and Coach Leader for GIR PLUS, adding: “I think it will assist in getting more women into the game.”
Another participant, Vakabauta Bukayaro, Primary School Teacher and GIR PLUS Coach, said: “one benefit that I will take away from this training is to advocate on gender equality amongst my students, at home, and in my community and work towards a violence free community where we can live, share our responsibilities and value each other.”
Kitiana Kaitu, Primary School Teacher and GIR PLUS Coach said: “this training has equipped me to be a better advocate and create awareness in our communities on these issues.”
Trials of the Pacific’s new Get Into Rugby PLUS programme are starting in Fiji, with training for Oceania Rugby supported coaches including gender sensitization, delivered by Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in partnership with UN Women.
The training focusses on human rights, challenging gender stereotypes, preventing violence against women and girls, and integrating life-skills activities to ensure rugby coaches provide a safe, equal and inclusive environment for girls and boys in rugby.
This week’s GIR PLUS training is critical to create highly skilled rugby coaches who can provide a safe, equal and inclusive environment for girls and boys in rugby, according to Adam Thomas, Oceania Rugby's Sport for Development Program Manager.
“The training, conducted by the fantastic trainers from FWCC and UN Women, is a vital component for the GIR PLUS programme,” Mr Thomas said.
“The training includes specific techniques and approaches for coaches to engage with young participants, to educate and promote for a more inclusive rugby environment while also challenging gender stereotypes and encouraging more positive ‘social norms’ to contribute to reducing violence against women and girls.
“It complements the life-skills training the coaches have already undertaken and is what makes this program so special, as it specifically targets the primary drivers of violence against women and girls,” he said.
In addition to GIR PLUS, the regional initiative also includes research to better understand the interaction between violence against women and girls and sport in the Pacific Islands, and a focus on women’s equal participation in community rugby 7s events.
These activities are being implemented by Oceania Rugby and UN Women Fiji MCO, supported by the Pacific Partnership that brings together governments, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), and increase access to quality response services for survivors. The Pacific Partnership’s three outcome areas are jointly implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Forum Secretariat) and UN Women Fiji MCO.