WFP And IRB Team Up To Tackle Hunger At Rugby World Cup 2015

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Published on 05 September 2014

Copyright: WFP/Volana Rarivoson

LONDON – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) have launched an ambitious push to raise funds and awareness as part of their Tackle Hunger partnership at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

The focus of the drive in the build up to the world’s third-largest sporting event, which kicks off on September 18, 2015 will be a Million Meal Challenge, to raise funds for WFP to provide meals to school children in developing countries.


The Rugby World Cup Tackle Hunger partnership has been hugely successful in raising awareness and support of WFP’s work feeding the world’s hungry. And with England 2015 set to be the biggest Rugby World Cup to date, fans are digging deep to support the Million Meal Challenge.

More than US$21,000 has already been raised by voluntary online donations through the English Rugby Community ticket sales phase, and with global public ticket sales set to launch on September 12, the Rugby family is set to get behind the campaign.

“There is a powerful connection between good nutrition and sporting excellence and as the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, WFP is instrumental in ensuring that young children get the food they need to reach their full physical and intellectual potential,” said WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin.  “The Tackle Hunger partnership with the IRB shows how the global rugby community can play an instrumental role in supporting our work on the frontlines of hunger.

Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to be a global celebration of Rugby and its character-building values with more than 2.3 million fans expected to attend the 48-match, six-week showcase. As at every Rugby World Cup since 2003, the Tackle Hunger partnership will feature prominently throughout the tournament across all media.  

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB and global Rugby family are proud to support the vital and life-saving work of the WFP through the Tackle Hunger partnership. As we look forward to celebrating what promises to be an exceptional Rugby World Cup in 2015, Rugby’s character-building values of integrity, passion, respect, discipline and solidarity will be on display.”

“And from the armchair to the stadia, we are calling on fans to join us in supporting the Million Meal Challenge to help nourish the bodies and minds of those who face a daily challenge of malnutrition and starvation”.

Now in its eleventh year, the Tackle Hunger partnership between WFP and the IRB was launched at Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia and featured at France 2007 and New Zealand 2011 as well as Rugby World Cup Sevens, Women’s Rugby World Cup and the IRB Junior World Championship.  Shortly after the 2004 Asian Tsunami, the IRB organised an exhibition match in London between players from northern and southern hemisphere teams that raised more than US$3 million for WFP.

WFP and the IRB have been supported by England Rugby 2015, the Rugby World Cup 2015 organising body, in the build up to next year’s event and in July this year, children who receive WFP meals as part of a school feeding programme in Madagascar took part in an exhibition match during the global tour of the iconic Webb Ellis trophy.  Further opportunities are being developed to increase exposure of WFP’s work using food assistance to improve the lives of children.

For more information on the Million Meal Challenge and to support Tackle Hunger, visit

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

Recent broadcast quality video footage of WFP operations is available on request.  Please email:

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media

For more information please contact (email address:

Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 20 72409001, Mob.  +44 7968 008474

Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521

Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570

Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob.  +1-646-8241112

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