Program Background: The NRL’s Pacific Outreach Program is a three-way partnership between the Australian Government (represented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT), the Government in Tonga, and the Australian Rugby League Commission (represented by the NRL).

Program Aim: The Pacific Outreach Program was funded using an Innovation grant and extends the League for Life programming that was originally implemented in Papua New Guinea. The program focus and implementation varies depending on the unique requirements of each country, but improving overall wellbeing and children’s engagement with education are key components.

Purpose of this Report: To undertake a qualitative research evaluation of the Pacific Outreach Program in Tonga to identify progress and indicators of program success held by the various stakeholders in Australia and Tonga.

Key Findings: This review has followed three overarching themes and has identified areas where progress has been made, in combination with highlighting issues that can be addressed to improve the program. The three themes are: 1) State of Play: Contextual Factors Influencing Sport-For-Development in Tonga, 2) Progress Achieved and 3) League for Life Development Areas. Key findings within each are outlined below.

  •  State of Play, contextual factors influencing sport-for-development in Tonga: The program is situated within a unique context, with factors categorised into Macro (broad environmental context), Meso (operating environment, e.g. key stakeholders) and Micro Levels (internal operations). The NRL has most control over the Meso and Micro Levels.
  •  Progress Achieved: Successful establishment of League for Life in Tonga, refinement of program aims, stakeholder engagement, training provision, delivery of sporting opportunities for marginalised groups, social and behavioural messaging/outcomes, and the promotion of rugby league in Tonga.
  •  Areas For Development: Further training of NRL staff and establishing clear career development pathways, stakeholder engagement and communication, provision of program resources, longterm program planning, allocation of more staffing resources to administration and ongoing management of related processes.
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