February 2019

In League In Harmony

What we did

Involvement in Rugby League provides opportunities for the youth to develop social skills in addition to the fundamental playing elements. By being a part of the program our participants are empowered to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the diversity amongst their peers and the wider community.

A rugby league team brings players together of different ability, physique, and social background. The players learn to acknowledge and appreciate that the diversity of the team is essential for their team’s success. Our game is a fun and practical way of teaching our youth that diversity and cohesion are important to our community’s success.

The program unites the youth to explore how their similarities and differences provide opportunities for them to move forward together in harmony. This is achieved through theory and practical based activities which have been designed around the NRL’s beliefs of being inclusive, disciplined, positive and united. Through these learning experiences, the participants will have a greater capacity to contribute positively to a more socially cohesive society.

The program is delivered over a period of six (6) school based sessions with two components;

  1. Coaches talk - A series (6) of social cohesion theme based activities conducted by our Community Engagement Officers. Each student is provided an activity handbook.
  2. Training sessions - Rugby League skills sessions tailored for those new to Rugby League and the experienced. We see movement as an educational tool not only to teach the students the fundamental movement skills of Rugby League, but also promote key messages such as positive communication, teamwork, courage and preparation.

This then culminates in a celebratory Harmony Festival Gala Day. In League In Harmony ‘s delivery method is a non-formal educational approach. It is achieved by using Rugby League as the vehicle to educate key competencies of individuals and groups in order to contribute to personal development and sustainable social change.

The 7 Pillars of Inclusion were used to enhance our programs in considering how we can expand our programs reach to people with a disability. From this we piloted a session that utilised Wheelchair Rugby League for the Rugby League skills component. Additionally, Wheelchair Rugby League has been integrated to each of In League In Harmony’s Gala Days.

ILIH is delivered in three (3) settings: high schools; Intensive English Centres; and juvenile justice centres during each school term, annually.


Why we did it

Young people from CaLD backgrounds are challenged with high levels of disadvantage including social isolation, segregation, racism, bullying and cultural disconnection. We believe fostering inclusion between diverse groups is crucial for cultivating cohesion.

Involvement in rugby league provides opportunities for youth to develop social skills in addition to the fundamental playing elements. By being part of the program, participants improve their interpersonal skills and acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate their diversity among their peers and the wider community. This allows them to explore how to move forward together in harmony.

How we know it worked

The In League In Harmony measurement and evaluation plan provides us with a framework to track and assess the results of the activities through the life of the program. At the start of the program we survey participants’ attitudes, understating and experience of inclusiveness and diversity. At the completion of the program youth are surveyed on their attitudes and understanding of inclusiveness and diversity; appreciation of harmony, teamwork and their self-confidence. Teachers were also requested to complete an evaluation form which captures their satisfaction with the program; value for students; and any behavioural changes they have observed. 

Some of the outcomes identified from the surveys and evaluation included:

  • improved school attendance;
  • improved social behaviour;
  • increase in friendly communication between participants, and
  • $3.38 was the social value we created for every $1 we invested in NRL In League In Harmony (2018 Social Venture Australia).
Survey feedback responses

Casula High School - Teacher 

'This program has provided our students with many new skills - developed social skills, celebrate diversity, teamwork, improved communication skills, leadership qualities, improve sense of self and improve confidence. They value what they have learnt that being able to take these skills away and implement into club, school and in the wider community.'

Canterbury Boys High School - Teacher

'Students have been given an opportunity to engage in discussions on respect, harmony and teamwork while relating to support which is relevant to them. The students have grown in their confidence as individuals and on the field. It has been nice to see the students working together and recognising the importance of team work in life. It has bought the class closer together and given them more understanding of each other and individual strengths.’

Evans High School Term– Teacher

One respondent gave a great story of a little boy who opened up in the program and explained to everyone that he suffered from anxiety. The teacher had gone the whole year without knowing that. As she said, “the fact that he had the confidence to share that with the group shows the powerful impact that this program has on our students”

Sir Joseph Banks High School– Student

‘I have learnt more about being respectful. Hope I can do it again – it made me a better person.’

Belmore Boys High School - Student

'Embracing other cultures and religions and how we have more differences than similarities. Also setting goals and having self-confidence. I also learnt that anyone can be an all-star.'

Macarthur Girls High School - Student

'Getting to know classmates more. I have a further understanding of what it takes to be a leader or role model in the community.'

Menai High School – Student

'Learning leadership skills & becoming a better team & learning about my friends.'

Condell Park High School – Student

'I liked the practical element of this program. The theoretical point of view of this program was very informative and relative to everyday life and life experiences.'

Wiley Park Girls High School – Student

'We got to learn that we are all different and we should be proud of that and that we learnt how to work in a team.'

Web: https://www.nrl.com/community/in-league-in-harmony/