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GRS Zimbabwe Girls Compete in Street Child World Cup

Zimdonesia

Zimdonesia! The Zimbabwe and Indonesia teams celebrate a goal. (photo via Street Child World Cup)

This week is the Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, a global movement for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children deserve. The event has brought over 230 children from 19 countries to Brazil for football, an arts festival and conference for children’s rights – and Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe was selected to bring a girls team to represent Zimbabwe in the event’s first girls-only tournament! The team of 8 girls, all GRS participants, is being led by GRS program officer Tanya Sibanda and coached by GRS curriculum and training officer and former Zimbabwe national team midfielder Amelia Chifodya.

Zimbabwe team, Street Child World Cup

The Zimbabwe Girls Team, Street Child World Cup 2014 (photo via Street Child World Cup)

After a big win against Indonesia in their first game, the girls became favorites for outstanding sportsmanship in fair play soccer… and the two teams even acquired the name “Zimndonesia” for celebrating each other’s goals. The girls had two more great games, against Brazil and El Salvador, losing by just one goal to the latter in the quarterfinals.

We’re proud to be a part of this fantastic event, and thankful to the Street Child World Cup and all the event sponsors for shining a light on the issue of children’s rights. In particular, we are grateful to the Vitol Foundation for helping our Zimbabwe girls show the world their passion and skill!

Zimbabwe girls team

Pre-match. (photo via Street Child World Cup)

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Grassroot Soccer plays with Barclays Legends at BPL Live Event

On March 29th-30th Barclays British Premier League Live made its debut in Johannesburg, with many fans in full kit, lots of sunshine and tons of soccer. Thirty thousand excited soccer fans came through Zoo Lake Park over two days for the ultimate fan experience, and Grassroot Soccer was excited to be a big part of the action!

Risk Field BPL Live

GRS Soweto demonstrates "Risk Field" while former Chelsea Captain Marcel Desailly looks on.

At the “Pitch Zone,” GRS Coaches conducted SKILLZ activities “Risk Field” and “Break Away” with young fans, along with Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly participating.

GRS team with Lucas Radebe

GRS Soweto snaps a pic with Leeds United and South African national team captain Lucas Radebe. Nelson Mandela once said of Radebe, "This is my hero."

Attendees and GRS Coaches had the chance to interact with BPL Legends including Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, Chelsea Captain Marcel Desailly, Charlton and South African footballer Mark Fish, and Leeds United and South African national team captain Lucas Radebe. They were also able to see the BPL Trophy in person and watch BPL matches on a big screen.

Check out a great set of photos from the event here.

Mark Fish and Mookie

GRS Program Coordinator Mookie Dube takes a break with Charlton and South African footballer Mark Fish.

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GRS Coaches Participate in Global Money Week

March 10th-17th marked Global Money Week, a worldwide celebration to empower the next generation to be confident, responsible and skilled economic citizens. Coordinated by one of our partners, Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), Global Money Week focused on the active involvement of youth in over 80 countries through 400 organizations, including Grassroot Soccer! The incorporation of financial education in our curriculum, as well as career development courses for Coaches, provided us with the unique opportunity to take part in Global Money Week and add new perspectives to the conversation.

GRS Zambia Coaches on Global Money Week Chat

GRS Zambia Coaches Emmanuel Muyumba and Matilda Mwellwa chat with Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Special Envoy to the President of the World Bank.

In Zambia, Coaches Emmanuel Muyumba and Matilda Mwellwa represented GRS in an international video conference call with Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Special Envoy to the President of the World Bank. On the call were eight other young people from across the world, including the Netherlands, Chile, and Egypt. The conversation concentrated on the World Bank’s post-2015 agenda, which aims to better serve youth populations. Coaches Emmanuel and Matilda brought their concerns about the financial capacity of Zambian youth to the table.

Coach Matilda explained that financial independence remains elusive for many Zambian women, which contributes to many other challenges. “In our work with HIV, financial dependence is seen as a reason some women tolerate gender-based violence, which increases their risk of getting HIV,” she said. “Financial independence would offer girls and women more choice in their lives.” She was eager to know whether the World Bank had any plans that included gender-specific goals. Mr. Mohieldin confirmed that empowering women continues to be a major priority of the World Bank, and the unrealized economic potential of women and the importance of gender equality will be reemphasized in the post-2015 agenda.

Coach Emmanuel spoke about the pressing need for financial education among young Zambians. Mr. Mohieldin explained that the increase in financial education at younger ages is a specific concern of the World Bank’s upcoming agenda. He commended Grassroot Soccer’s use of football for education and noted that “using youth interests to engage them in financial matters is an innovative solution to increasing financial literacy.”

RV United players / GRS Coaches with Ragball International

Coaches George and Athi with ragballs they've made as part of an entrepeneurial venture, Ragball Internationa.

Meanwhile in South Africa, GRS Coaches who also play for Khayelitsha’s only all-girls soccer team, RV United, were engaging in another Global Money Week call.  Before this year’s season Andiswa “George” Ndamane and Atipila “Athi” Sidondi were a key part of a fundraising initiative in which RV United partnered with Ragball International, an income generation project in which youth produce handmade soccer balls from recycled materials in exchange for a fair wage and entrepreneurial training. RV United sold their handmade ragballs to international buyers, with half the proceeds going to the team budget and the other half going to the individual players. The team then participated in financial education practices and learned about saving, spending, and how to make sound financial choices.

For Global Money Week, Coaches George and Athi joined a call with the Secretary General of IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commissions), Mr. David Wright, as well as youth from Turkey and Colombia, to discuss the importance of financial education in school curricula. Mr. Wright recommended that youth should always be fully aware of the conditions that banks apply when opening a bank account or when investing their savings into the stock market.

Both Coaches George and Athi were excited to have the opportunity to share information about RV United and their experience making ragballs, and to learn how youth from across the world were taking initiatives to earn and save money in their own communities. When reflecting on the conversation, Coach Athi said, “I learned that we should be more ‘nosy’ about getting information from banks, especially about different charges. If you are making an account you should always ask what charges will apply to you.”

The calls with Mr. Mohieldin and Mr. Wright and other youth from the international community provided stimulating conversations and a new platform to share ideas about financial awareness and empowerment among youth. The Coaches were honored and humbled to have the opportunity to become involved in the celebrations of Global Money Week.