World Rugby marks 200 days to Rugby World Cup 2019 with record breaking donations to ChildFund Pass it Back

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Marking 200 days to go until Rugby World Cup 2019, World Rugby and ChildFund, the principal charity partner for Rugby World Cup, have confirmed that a record AU$3 million has been pledged to ChildFund Pass It Back, strongly showcasing rugby’s values.

In an incredible show of solidarity and generosity of the global rugby family, as well as Rugby World Cup 2019’s worldwide commercial partners, the pledged donations will support ChildFund Pass It Back, an innovative sport for development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby and Asia Rugby that delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia.

Pledged funds will enable more than 25,000 children and young people from disadvantaged communities across Asia to take part in and benefit from the programme. With a focus on gender inclusion, approximately half of all players and coaches to-date are female. The programme’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.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “Today marks 200 days until Rugby World Cup 2019, and we are thrilled to see this powerful demonstration of the spirit and values of rugby among fans throughout the world, which reaffirms our belief that Japan 2019 will be the most impactful Rugby World Cup.

“ChildFund Pass It Back is transforming the lives of children living in some of Asia’s most vulnerable communities, and the rugby community can be proud of its role in helping to foster a new generation of players in the world’s most populous and youthful continent.”

The pledged donations, which are a record for a Rugby World Cup, will also assist with emergency relief efforts in disaster-affected areas in Japan.

Gosper added: “Through our wider Impact Beyond programme, we will leave a positive lasting legacy in Japan, including providing support via ChildFund to lessen the worst impacts of any natural disasters faced by children and their communities in the years to come.”

ChildFund CEO Nigel Spence said: “At ChildFund, we believe that every child, regardless of their birthplace, has the right to play, learn and grow, which is why ChildFund Pass it Back was originally established for children in developing communities who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality.

“Sport has the incredible power to unite people and communities, As World Rugby’s principal charity partner for Rugby World Cup 2019, we are delighted to witness the generosity of the rugby family, and to know that our programme can benefit even more vulnerable children in Asia.

The funds pledged through Rugby World Cup 2019 will enable more than 25,000 children from countries in Asia, including Japan, the opportunity to benefit from their participation in ChildFund Pass It Back.

This innovative rugby and life skills programme builds resilience and includes learning on leadership, problem-solving, gender equity, conflict-resolution and planning for the future.

Gosper added: “We believe Rugby World Cup 2019 will be the most impactful ever in terms of the long-term legacy it will leave in Japan and the wider Asia region.”

For more information on the ChildFund Pass it Back programme, visit

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence has welcomed the announcement by Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson Penny Wong that the Labor government will rebuild the Australian Aid program, if successful at the next Federal Election.

Mr Spence said: “Australia has a long history as a generous donor and partner to developing countries in our region.

“This has helped us to forge a reputation as a good neighbour, willing to contribute its fair share to reducing poverty, providing emergency humanitarian assistance, and upholding and advancing international frameworks and standards.

“Unfortunately, successive cuts to our overseas development assistance (ODA) have weakened efforts to overcome poverty in the region and has meant that our reputation has been tarnished. We welcome Senator Wong’s recognition that the Australian Aid program is an important pillar of our foreign policy.”

Currently, the aid budget is at its lowest level in Australia’s history. Five years of budget reductions, amounting to $11b, mean that ODA accounts for just just 22c in every $100 of gross national income and is on track to decline further, to just 19c in 2021.

Among its developed country peers, Australia has the 9th largest economy of the 30 nations, yet in terms of generosity as an aid donor it is now at 19th place, having fallen from 13th in 2011.

Mr Spence notes: “The current status of our aid program is such a poor reflection of our national values of compassion, generosity and fairness.

“Not only does Australian Aid improve conditions for the world’s poorest children and families, but it serves our national interests by fostering inclusive economic growth, creating new trading markets, countering instability and reducing conflict in our region.”

While Penny Wong did not elaborate on how much the aid budget would increase by each year, a resolution was passed at the Labor Party Conference to “achieve a funding target for the international development program of at least 0.5% of gross national income”.

The Coalition government has yet to announce changes to foreign policy, but Mr Spence has urged that both sides of politics come together on aid.

“In 2014, the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s overseas aid and development assistance program recommended that a bipartisan agreement on the long-term funding of Australian’s overseas development be developed, in order to reach international targets.

“Five years later, we want to see this become a reality. Regardless of who wins the next Federal Election, we want to see an Australian Aid program that is valued by all of our government representatives, and that they demonstrate a real commitment to rebuilding, supporting and progressing the Australian Aid program.”