Grassroot Soccer is an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize youth in developing countries to overcome their greatest health challenges, live healthier, more productive lives, and be agents for change in their communities.
Adolescents are being left behind in the fight against disease and other critical health challenges. Unlike childhood mortality which has improved 80% in the past 50 years, adolescent mortality hasn’t budged. Preventable diseases like HIV, and complications from pregnancies continue to be the leading causes of death among adolescents. There is a tremendous opportunity to improve the world’s health by promoting healthy practices during adolescence, and taking steps to better protect young people from health risks.
Grassroot Soccer, a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization, uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.
With an annual budget of $4.2 million, 61 employees and over 300 volunteers in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the United States. GRS delivers its interventions to youth between the ages of 12-18 every day across this geography and regularly hosts training events for staff and volunteers.
GRS’s activities are divided two areas: global activities and in-country activities. Globally, GRS focuses on curriculum development, measurement and evaluations, strategic development and financial management. In-country, their teams execute on the GRS and partner funded programs managing all aspects required to fulfill their mission and satisfy the funders’ financial and programmatic needs. In addition, outside GRS’s three core countries (South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the global team provides technical assistance to implementing partners who deliver Skillz interventions. GRS’s global team identifies partners capable of sustaining a football based HIV prevention program, matches them with funders, provides in-country training and ongoing technical assistance and assists in the overall capacity building of these organizations.
Using footballers as role models, and using the popularity of soccer to engage hard to reach young people (aged 12-18), GRS has combined social theory, public health methodologies, rigorous evaluation and a huge dose of passion.
Where They Work:
Grassroot Soccer operates flagship sites in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and as a technical assistance partner have helped design and launch sustainable projects in Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
They provide training and technical assistance to indigenous and international organizations through their implementing partners program, building their capacity to adapt, deliver, and evaluate the GRS model in their constituencies.
With a solid track record in partnership building, GRS has launched effective collaborations with more than 30 government agencies, corporations, NGOs, CBOs, and FBOs worldwide. As a direct result of these partnerships as well as flagship programs, GRS has provided comprehensive HIV prevention and life skills education to more than 270,000 young people throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Grassroot Soccer’s ‘Skillz’ curriculum focuses on building basic life skills that help boys and girls adopt healthy behaviors and live risk-free.Through a series of interactive activities and discussions students gain a tangible understanding of HIV and AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for sustainable behavior change. Key curricular topics include making healthy decisions, avoiding risks, building support networks, reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing knowledge about testing and treatment, addressing gender issues, and assessing values.
Skillz consists of four main types of interventions:
1.In-school and after-school Skillz curriculum delivery
2.Skillz Street (a girls-targeted intervention combining the Skillz curriculum with fair play soccer and peer-led community outreach activities)
3.Skillz Tournaments (Voluntary Counseling and Testing tournaments linked to Skillz activities, HIV testing, and local treatment services)
4.Skillz Holiday (week-long camps that combine the Skillz Curriculum with soccer games and tournaments)
Grassroot Soccer’s funding continues to come from three sources: individuals, corporations and foundations.See more