Rugby Africa Boosts Women’s Leadership Development With Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship Programme

Posted on November 22, 2020

Rugby Africa continues to boost women’s involvement in the game, including leadership, and is calling on all talented women with the potential to become leaders in rugby to submit their applications for the 2021 Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarships.

This amazing opportunity qualifies two women from Africa to join the remaining ten women from around the world, who will each receive a £10,000 scholarship for leadership development support for formal or informal education, conferences, forums, mentoring and best practice study tours. Each scholarship will be tailored to meet the professional development needs of the successful applicants.

Said Katie Sadleir, World Rugby – General Manager Women’s Rugby. “We are now into the fourth year of the executive leadership scholarship programme and have been able to assist 37 women from around the world thus far. This investment from World Rugby into great leadership has been a game changer as we work with unions and regions to adopt best practice in terms of diversity in senior management and governance roles.” 

Some of the Africa scholarship recipients who have risen in the ranks and made valuable contributions to the sport include:

Rolande Boro – Appointed to the World Rugby Council for Rugby Africa (Burkina Faso)

Maha Zaoui – First appointed Women’s Rugby Manager of a region, Rugby Africa (Tunisia)

Regina Lunyolo – Joined rugby Africa women’s rugby advisory committee (Uganda)

Vanessa Doble – Appointed world rugby council member. (South Africa)

The scholarships are open to women who:
– Are currently involved in Rugby at a governance level (Union/Region Board Member) or,
– Are currently involved in Rugby at a senior leadership level (reporting to CEO at third tier and above)
or
– Have the potential to be involved

“One of the ambitions in Women’s Rugby is to have at least 30% representation of women in key leadership roles and in turn, lead the way in terms of gender equality. Rugby Afrique is very excited about the continued partnership we have with World Rugby in accelerating the global development of women’s rugby through the women’s leadership scholarship.

Since its inception in 2018, the Africa Region has been a recipient of six scholarships, and we look forward to more in 2021,” Paulina Lanco, Rugby Africa executive and women’s rugby advisory committee chairperson.


Regional Associations will submit a short list of applicants to discuss with World Rugby prior to final approval. The nominations will then be submitted by the Regional Associations to World Rugby by January 29, 2021. The applications then go through two rounds of adjudication. Priority will be given to women from unions who are demonstrating growth in the game in terms of participation. Announcement of the successful candidates will be made on 8 March 2021.

“Since its creation in 2018, the Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship Programme has kept its vocation of being a program dedicated to the development of female leadership. From one year to the next, World Rugby updates the criteria to ensure the best candidates are chosen and that a return on investment is guaranteed.

Once the candidates are accepted, they will be supported to ensure successful completion of all agreed projects”– Maha Zaoui, Women’s Rugby Manager – Rugby Africa.

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