Asia Rugby assists its member unions to lead the way in safeguarding children in rugby. From L-R: Megan Knight - Partnerships and Development Adviser (Lao Rugby Federation), Benjamin Van Rooyen - Rugby Participation Consultant (Asia Rugby), Ridzal Saat - Rugby Services Manager, Asia (World Rugby), Chris Page - MedCom (UAE Rugby), John Harris - Safeguarding and Regional Support Officer (Childfund Australia), and Acee San Juan - PRFU Development Manager.
Asia Rugby’s Safeguarding Working Group was launched in 2018 to provide advice and support to its member unions on best practice child safeguarding, in-line with UNICEF’s International Safeguards for Children in Sport.
The Safeguarding Working Group sits under Asia Rugby’s Player Welfare & Medical Committee. The formation of the Safeguarding Working Group shows Asia Rugby taking steps to ensure that plans for incremental growth of the game across the region take place in a safe environment.
Asia Rugby’s current Strategic Plan runs until 2020 and one of its key pillars is to "make rugby the choice sport of youth played by all genders, people of different shapes, sizes, ages and across every segment of society.” One of its pillars requires all unions to "adopt internationally recognized gender inclusion and safeguarding strategies.”
There are already a number of unions who have shown significant progress in both areas and the Working Group will build upon the experience of these unions and key lessons learned in order to provide support to other unions to be able to achieve positive progress to make their rugby activities a safe space for children. With the recent creation also of a Gender Inclusion Committee, the Regional Association is taking significant steps to also lead the way in gender inclusion in rugby.
“The importance of safeguarding can’t be overestimated. We’ve taken it on board and it is part of our strategic plan. All current and would-be new members must have a safeguarding policy for their rugby communities,” commented Ross Mitchell, Asia Rugby’s General Manager.
It is an exciting time for Asia Rugby with the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics set to be hosted in Japan in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Several participation and development initiatives are well underway with Asia 1 Million being Asia Rugby’s flagship project to recruit a million new players, coaches and officials by 2019. Toward this goal, Asia Rugby is working in partnership with ChildFund, Women Win and World Rugby for the ChildFund Pass It Back program currently operating in Laos and the Philippines, where there are member unions, and in Vietnam through ChildFund Vietnam, with expansion plans set for the coming year. The regional program uses tag rugby to deliver life skills education and works with more than 6,000 young people, 54% of whom are female.
Through the Pass It Back program, ChildFund has also been leading a safeguarding and gender inclusion in sport initiative in the 3 countries to develop and improve child safeguarding standards and strengthen institutional practice. The lessons learnt through this initiative will be shared with Asia Rugby’s Safeguarding Working Group to disseminate to and support other member unions in preparing their own safeguarding policies and procedures.
“ChildFund Pass It Back focuses on creating a safe space for children to participate in sport, not just physical safety but importantly emotional safety, too,” commented ChildFund Pass It Back Regional Director Chris Mastaglio.
Ridzal Saat, Rugby Services Manager for Asia commented, “ChildFund comes from an area of expertise which we don’t have in sports. It means that our members know what they have to do. Safeguarding is not just about having a policy, it’s about how they actually implement that policy. Our unions need support, and safeguarding has become part of criteria for World Rugby membership so working with a partner who has expertise in this area really helps our member unions and us.”
The Hong Kong Rugby Union in particular has also taken steps to develop child safeguarding practice across its rugby community, with a range of community engagement initiatives and child safeguarding content built into coach training blocks. The lessons from Hong Kong’s experience also bring valuable examples and perspective to the Safeguarding Working Group
Through their efforts, ChildFund in Vietnam and the unions in Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong have emerged as safeguarding leaders in the region and their experiences will be instrumental to the Safeguarding Working Group’s work plan over the course of the year and in subsequent years, in order to work towards achieving strong institutional child safeguarding practice across rugby in Asia.
Using all of these lessons, the Working Group will be developing key support resources to enable Asia Rugby’s Player Welfare & Medical Committee to provide a strong template that can be applied to other development programs in the region to aid member unions to develop strong, relevant policy documents, which are contextualized to each individual country. Importantly, the Working Group will also implement an action plan designed to support member unions to be able to provide evidence of application at all levels of their work. Subsequent workshops and trainings will follow at all levels of the game throughout the year, to ensure that personnel at different levels of each union are aware of their responsibilities to safeguard children.
Source: Asia Rugby
Manila, 17 April 2018. Fitness First Philippines and the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) has recently renewed its partnership for another two (2) years to keep the Philippine Volcanoes fit and strong as it continues its quest to bring pride and honor to the country. With the renewed partnership, the Philippine Volcanoes will continue to have unlimited access to all Fitness First clubs in the Philippines. Not only will Philippine Volcanoes have access to world-class fitness equipment and group classes but also to advice and trainings from fitness experts vigorously trained by Fitness First.
PRFU will continue to support and showcase Fitness First logos on the National Team training shirts and singlets and promote Fitness First in its advertising and marketing platforms.
Fitness First today has clubs in 16 countries making it a leader in the fitness industry. Fitness First has lived up to its philosophy to offer the best equipment, range of classes, knowledgeable staff and personal advice in a welcoming environment that feeds their members’ motivation. Fitness First's vision of providing the best equipment and offering a variety of classes to the public is not only ideal for the Philippine Volcanoes but also provides an opportunity to explore other effective ways to be fit and strong in preparation for tournaments. As Jake Letts, PRFU General Manager, said, “Philippine Rugby is extremely happy with the renewal, another two years with Fitness First will ensure our athletes remain in the best shape to represent the national team, most importantly, the country. It's so important for our High-Performance elite athletes to regularly conduct strength training. With the addition of the watchful eye of our Elite Performance Manager Chris Everingham, he uses the facilities to best measure, advise and conduct high-intensity levels of training knowing that Fitness First facilities have all the requirements needed to get the required results. It's exciting for the our national program”.
The renewed partnership of Fitness First and PRFU signifies a strong collaboration of the two organizations to promote fitness and the sport of rugby to the general public. Fitness First Philippines General Manager, Mark Ellis, is as thrilled as Jake Letts as the two organizations work hand in hand to create a fitness strategy and plan for the National Team and set a goal to win medals for the Philippines.
Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) have new sights for growth, announcing a new leadership team after an extensive recruitment process that attracted applicants from across the globe. PRFU is proud to announce and introduce the new leadership team that will take Rugby into the future.
Leading the charge for this new team is General Manager, Jake Letts. Letts has been linked to the Union for over 13 years and a former Team Captain, recording over 50 international appearances for the Philippine Volcanoes. Letts holds a Sports Business Degree and a Masters of Management from the University of Technology, Sydney. In 2013, Letts was officially brought on board with PRFU and held positions for Sponsorship and Marketing and National Teams prior to his appointment to General Manager.
“I’m excited about the appointment, I was lucky enough for many years to lead the team on the field as a Team Captain. I’m now looking forward to doing it more so off the field. I have been lucky enough to have experienced all the highs and lows of the Union. My goal will be to lead the union into an efficient management team focusing on team performance and a culture of success” shared Letts.
Letts is joined by a strong team of leaders as Philippine Rugby moves to a more strategically balanced organization, formulating and focusing on five key areas of the game: Elite Performance, Development, Sponsorship & Marketing, Tournaments & Events and Administration.
Elite Performance, headed by Chris Everingham, focuses on National Athletes and National Team Performance. Everingham was also a former Philippine Volcano, now a specialist Strength and Conditioning coach, nutritionist, dietician, and performance coach.
Development Manager, spearheaded by Angella (Acee) San Juan brings her skills and expertise to focus on increasing participation throughout the country, developing player pathways and community relationships, and implementing the recently approved safeguarding policy for children involved with PRFU. San Juan, together with Get Into Rugby Manager, Rose Lanticse, are pushing to introduce Rugby in all regions of the Philippines.
Jovan Masalunga continues to lead the Union as Tournaments and Events Manager, and additionally take on the training and education pathways for coaches, match officials, and rugby medical specialists.
Lorie Baclagon will continue Head of Administration, an integral support role for every aspect of the organization.
Ada Milby, Secretary General for PRFU, says of these appointments, “it’s an exciting time to be part of Philippine Rugby. With 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan, 2020 Olympics and Philippines hosting SEAG next year, it’s imperative for PRFU to have the right leadership in place to implement programs and use these upcoming cornerstone events to maximize exposure for rugby in order to start recruiting and identifying the next generation of Philippine Volcanoes and building the support needed for their continued success in the years to come.”
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