Tackling Hunger, One Rugby Fan at a Time

    A rugby ball. Fans of the sport are encouraged to support the global campaign to end hunger. Photo by: Dhammika Heenpella / CC BY-NC

    With the Rugby World Cup underway in New Zealand, fans of the sport are encouraged not only to cheer for their favorite teams but also to support the global campaign to end hunger.

    Advertising boards at the stadium in New Zealand, program advertisements, and public service videos shown online, on television and in the stadium encourage rugby supporters to donate to the World Food Program’s ongoing fundraising efforts to finance its feeding programs and similar initiative around the world. Publicity at the Rugby World Cup is part of the expanded partnership between the International Rugby Board and WFP.

    The two organizations launched the Tackle Hunger campaign in 2003 and hope to use the ongoing world cup to generate more support for it. The Rugby World Cup is the third-biggest sporting event in the world, after the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup. It has an estimated TV audience of 4 billion people globally.

    The campaign is also using Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to reach out to rugby fans across the world and encourage them to donate to WFP initiatives, particularly those focused on helping famine and drought victims in East Africa. The Rugby World Cup Twitter account has more than 104,000 followers while its Facebook profile has at least 1.4 million.

    The Tackle Hunger campaign is just one of several partnerships between the United Nations and different sports bodies. The football community, in particular, has long been an active supporter and partner of the global body in various fields.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.