The Barbarians Charitable Trust is waging war on gender-based violence in South Africa thanks to a £10,000 donation that aims to inspire more women to play rugby.

The grant given to the CoolPlay programme is being used to fund the initiative’s gender-equity project that is dealing with inequality issues in the country by providing an ongoing after-school environment in the form of two rugby clinics.

CoolPlay has identified the provision of gender-equity rugby sessions as a great way to give learners psycho-social support and positive guidance to encourage young girls to be more active and to promote school participation.

The ambition is for rugby to play a critical role in levelling the playing field for the young women taking part in CoolPlay’s activities – going on to provide meaningful employment opportunities that will help to combat the gender-based violence that remains a large societal problem in South Africa.

CoolPlay’s tried-and-tested model has achieved great success since it started in 2013, with hundreds of learners already benefiting from regular rugby sessions across 11 schools in disadvantaged areas in the Western Cape of South Africa.

But while 43% of the learners involved in the programme are girls, the need to add a second female-only rugby squad to the network was identified as a key part of the programme’s growth.

The Barbarians’ £10,000 donation will help CoolPlay run two year-long programmes at partner schools, provide relevant training to 36 coaches within the network, and fund a rugby squad field trip for 25 girls and three coaches in the scheme – as well as making a sanitary product donation to female CoolPlay learners.

“The funding has been welcomed as we emerge out of a challenging few years, while also adding energy and direction to the growth of women’s rugby in our programme – aligning strongly with our commitment to gender equity,” said CoolPlay CEO Tori Gardner.

“Our ongoing aim is to focus on the delivery of world-class basics and continuing to provide the critical care and support that these children need.”