This year’s Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom has raised nearly US$2 million to provide school meals for children worldwide and food for people in emergencies.
WFP and its long-term partner, World Rugby, teamed up with the UK broadcaster, ITV and the UK government to roll out a far-reaching campaign that encouraged rugby fans in the UK and across the world to donate by text on their phones, or online.
With record attendances and fierce competition making this year’s Rugby World Cup one of the best ever, fans rallied around to provide overwhelming support to the campaign, which raised funds for WFP’s school meals and emergency relief programmes.
School meals for Senegal and Malawi
Even before the event kicked off, the rugby family had raised US$344,000 through voluntary online donations while buying tickets, providing school meals for children in Senegal and Malawi – encouraging them to attend school and better concentrate in lessons.
Children enjoy WFP school meals in Malawi (Copyright: WFP/ Patrick McKenna.)
As the tournament got underway, UK host broadcaster, ITV, helped raise further support through the Tackle Hunger Together campaign, which encouraged text and online donations – all of which were matched by the UK government. RWC worldwide partner DHL also supported the campaign raising money through employee fundraising activities.
“One of rugby’s core values is solidarity and this fantastic response by the public and other tournament stakeholders demonstrates how the spirit and sport of rugby can be used to help achieve global sustainable development goals. To all who supported this campaign, I thank you,” said World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
Generous fans make sport the tool for change
The whole campaign highlighted the importance of good nutrition – not just for those who play rugby, but also for the one in nine people worldwide who are unable to access enough food for a healthy life. The money raised will support families affected by emergencies, and also school children – who, with the right food, have a better chance of reaching their full physical and intellectual potential.
Will Greenwood puts his support behind the Tackle Hunger Together campaign (Copyright: ITV)
Everyone from former World Cup Winning England rugby star, Will Greenwood, to the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, got behind the campaign from the start – once again proving that sport is such a powerful tool in reaching millions to achieve great outcomes.
“Once again, the rugby community has come together to support families who face a daily struggle to put food on the table,” said Greg Barrow, director of WFP UK. “The Tackle Hunger Together campaign provided a rallying point for the rugby community at one of the world’s biggest sporting events and helped WFP to harness the generosity of fans attending matches and watching on TV.”