Grassroot Soccer (GRS) empowers young people by using the universal language of soccer to educate youth about HIV prevention and to provide communities with access to HIV testing and treatment options. Youth are those hardest hit by AIDS but also have the potential to be the greatest force for change. Founded in 2002 by four professional soccer players, GRS trains local and community leaders and professional soccer players as coaches who serve as role models while teaching and motivating young people to adopt healthy behaviors. GRS has a global reach, with a particular emphasis on areas where AIDS has had a significant impact on communities, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.
Since 2002, Grassroot Soccer has empowered 290,000 girls to live healthier lives through our programs. These include:
* SKILLZ Street, a groundbreaking GRS initiative that empowers young women to be community leaders in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Named to the Women Deliver 50 list as one of the Top 10 Educational Initiatives that deliver for girls and women worldwide in 2012, the program challenges the destructive gender norms fueling the epidemic by developing young women’s conflict negotiation and soccer skills, building assertiveness, self-efficacy, and social cohesion, while reinforcing HIV prevention messages gained from earlier GRS programs. Activities focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights and life skills are complemented by free play soccer. The SKILLZ Street program also includes designated sessions for HIV counseling and testing (HCT) and links female participants to other community-based health services.
* Our Generation Skillz and Generation Skillz Utshintsho curriculum are targeted at older teenagers and directly address issues of gender norms, healthy sexual behavior, gender-based violence, and HIV prevention. These programs create safe spaces for young people to discuss these issues.
* Through our coach development program, we've been able to increase the technical capacity and employability of hundreds of young women throughout Africa who serve as GRS coaches (health educators and mentors to our participants) for two years.
Learn more at www.grassrootsoccer.org