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Scrum down: Converting rugby’s potential through partnership building


Scrum down: Converting rugby’s potential through partnership building

Rugby's principles make it ideal for promoting development but many organisations are limited by isolation and lack of resources. sportanddev talks to Mallory Woods, member relations manager at the Global Rugby Collaborative.

The Global Rugby Collaborative seeks to legitimise and promote the field of “rugby for good (RfG)” by tackling some of the critical challenges faced by young people and communities across the world. Mallory Woods, member relations manager, describes rugby’s potential in development programmes and explains the importance of relationship building for maximising impact.

sportanddev: Why is rugby a well-suited sport for tackling development issues?
Mallory Woods: Rugby is founded on five principles: integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect. Every player, fan and official is charged with upholding these principles and the spirit of rugby. So, in terms of youth development, rugby has the unique ability to help kids discover and grow these characteristics in themselves, both on and off the pitch. Rugby is also the ultimate team sport; no one player is valued over another. This can level the playing field for kids from a multitude of backgrounds and allows youth to experience absolute camaraderie. These rugby values are inseparable from the game and from those who play it.

sportanddev: The Global Rugby Collaborative’s members work in 38 countries. Can you tell us a story of rugby being used to create positive change on the ground?
MW: It's unbelievable, the many ways rugby has transformed the lives of kids throughout the world. Against a backdrop of violence and conflict in Afghanistan they're using rugby to teach kids about camaraderie and trust; in South Africa one of our members uses the sport to raise awareness about bullying and prepare kids with the skills to effectively manage those situations; in Thailand rugby lets kids be kids again in the wake of natural disasters; and all across the world rugby has given disadvantaged kids opportunities to be a part of a team, to be a leader, and to have positive life experiences they might not otherwise have access to.

sportanddev: Why is collaboration and relationship building important to "rugby for good" organisations?
MW: Collaboration and relationship building are the reasons we started this initiative! There are incredible organisations doing inspirational work around the world, using rugby as a vehicle for social change. Unfortunately, many of them are operating in isolation and lack the resources and support they need to maximise, scale and sustain their impact. By collaborating we hope to elevate our programmes, establish the legitimacy of using "rugby for good," and deliver our combined mission of creating a better world of opportunities for young people, through rugby.


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Paul Hunt


Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 00:00