World Rugby and ChildFund ‘Pass It Back’ to Change Children’s Lives Through Sport

September 4, 2018 by ChildFund Alliance

New York, NY, 4 September 2018 — World Rugby and ChildFund have today launched a major international partnership to change children’s lives through the transformative power of sport, as part of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

“We awarded the tournament to Japan because we knew that it could be a powerful game-changer for sporting and social change in Asia,” said World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper. “As a transformational rugby for good program, ChildFund Pass It Back is the perfect embodiment of that objective and we are excited about the impact rugby can have for thousands of children within the world’s most populous and youthful continent.

“Rugby is a sport of character-building values and we have witnessed the solidarity of the rugby community in rallying behind Kamaishi and I am sure that fans purchasing tickets for Asia’s first Rugby World Cup will be generous in supporting rugby programs that will make a real and lasting difference to thousands of disadvantaged children.”

Funds raised through the partnership will enable the award-winning ChildFund Pass It Back program to be expanded in Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines, and extended to other developing countries in the region. Donated funds will also assist with emergency relief efforts in disaster-affected areas in Japan. Over 20,000 children from disadvantaged communities across Asia will benefit.

“This is an exciting opportunity. We believe every child should have the right to play, which is why ChildFund’s Pass it Back program was originally established for children in rural and remote communities of Laos and Vietnam,” said Michael Rose, ChildFund Alliance President. “These are children who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality.

“Well designed sport for development programs are a proven way to achieve positive social outcomes, such as building resilience, youth leadership and gender equity. ChildFund Pass It Back helps young people to develop the skills they need to keep themselves safe in what is a rapidly changing environment, and is aligned with global efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 – to end all forms of violence against children.”

The ChildFund Pass It Back program has already assisted more than 6,000 children across Asia, with its unique curriculum that integrates tag rugby and life skills learning to help young people in a range of areas, including leadership, problem solving, gender equity, conflict resolution and planning for the future. The program has high participation rates for girls and young women.

“It is great to see that over 50% of all players and coaches involved in ChildFund Pass It Back are female,” said Rose. “Not only does this program strengthen the resilience of children and youth, but it helps to build a new generation of role models and leaders who ‘pass it back’ to their own communities.”

“Through the partnership with World Rugby, ChildFund will reach more marginalized young people in Asia – girls, children from poor communities, young people living in rural and remote areas who have never had the opportunity to take part in organized sport before,” said Meg Gardinier, Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance. “ChildFund Alliance is proud and excited to be part of this major global initiative to improve the lives of impoverished children in Asia.”


Lao Khang, Laos

Lao Khang comes from a small village in Nonghet district in the rural north of Laos. Her first opportunity to play organized sport was as a teenager when she was introduced to rugby through the ChildFund Pass It Back program. Today Lao is working as a Development Officer with the Lao Rugby Federation, has represented the Lao Women’s National Rugby team, and won an Athletes in Excellence Award from the Foundation for Global Sports Development. She says: “As a girl I was always very shy. Now I am a brave and confident young woman. Before I began playing rugby I only knew people in my small village. Now I have friends all around the world. I want to help involve as many Lao girls and women from rural and remote communities as possible in rugby so they too can feel brave and strong.”

For more information, visit


B-Roll Footage and images of the Pass It Back program can be accessed here

Media contact: Diana Quick,
Available for Interview upon request:
Meg Gardinier, Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance, is available for interview.

About World Rugby
World Rugby is the international governing body of rugby union and is committed to the growth and sustainability of rugby around the globe, underpinned by the values of integrity, respect, solidarity, passion and discipline.

About ChildFund
ChildFund is a global alliance of child-focused international development organizations which assists more than 14 million children and their families in over 60 countries. With a long-standing and trusted presence in many of the world’s poorest communities, ChildFund works in partnership with children, their families and local organizations to achieve lasting change, respond to humanitarian emergencies and promote children’s rights. ChildFund implements programs to improve education, healthcare and child protection. It also delivers programs to build the resilience of children and youth, including sport for development – most notably the highly successful ChildFund Pass It Back program.

About ChildFund Pass it Back
ChildFund Pass It Back is an innovative sport for development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win that delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia. With a focus on gender inclusion, more than half of all players and coaches are female. The program’s objectives are to equip children and young people in Asia to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and ‘pass it back’ to their communities. ChildFund Pass It Back is a key component of World Rugby’s Impact Beyond 2019 Programme.

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