Grassroot Soccer Partners with 2014 Beyond Sport Summit

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) has been deeply engaged this week in the 2014 Beyond Sport Summit, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Summit brings together the most influential and pioneering leaders from the world of sport, business and community development to explore the potential of young people and future leaders in driving social impact and becoming positive change makers. GRS is partnering with Beyond Sport to inspire attendees through programs, activity sessions, panel discussions, and more.

Beyond Sport onsite discussion

Beyond Sport delegates participate in small group discussions, led by GRS staff and coaches in Alexandra, around addressing problems facing youth.

Here’s an outline of Grassroot Soccer’s roles in the Summit:

Experts in Health Education:

  • James Donald, GRS South Africa Managing Director, moderated the Beyond Health panel hosted by Nestlé.
  • Ethan Zohn, GRS Co-founder, contributed to (1) an Expert Talk Panel on youth inspiring innovation, leadership and sustainable impact and (2) a health session on global health issues and the role of sport in addressing them.
  • Sikhumbuzo Mnculwane, GRS Site Coordinator, facilitated a roundtable workshop on developing partnerships for HIV testing and treatment.
Beyond Health panel

GRS South Africa Managing Director James Donald (in green) and GRS Co-founder Ethan Zohn (in black) take part in the Beyond Health panel.

Leaders in Program Development and Implementation:

  • GRS hosted an open site visit at the Alexandra Football for Hope Centre for Beyond Sport delegates to learn about and experience Grassroot Soccer’s innovative programming.
  • GRS led an interactive on-pitch session showcasing a Barclays-funded program building employability skills in young community members.
GRS Coach Development video at Beyond Sport Summit

A video highlighting the GRS Coach Development program, supported by Barclays and Absa, is presented at the Summit.

Drivers of Social Impact through Youth:

  • GRS Coaches represent 3 of the 8 Youth Ambassadors for the summit. They are: Bongani Sibaya, Sphesihle Buthulezi, and Bongani Sibisi.
  • Over 50 GRS Coaches and team members participated in the Beyond Sport Summit.
Ethan Zohn and GRS Young Ambassadors

GRS Co-founder Ethan Zohn and GRS Beyond Sport Young Ambassadors


About Beyond Sport

Beyond Sport is a global organisation that promotes, develops and funds the use of sport to create positive social change across the world. Visit for more information.


Malaria Awareness and Testing Event a Big Success in Tanzania

One of Grassroot Soccer’s most successful partnerships to date has been with Iringa Development of Youth, Disabled and Children Care (IDYDC) in the Iringa district of Tanzania. GRS and IDYDC continue to deliver critical HIV and malaria prevention messaging to Tanzanian youth through the ZINDUKA kupitia SOKA project. A Peace Corps extension volunteer was placed with IDYDC in late 2012 to support daily program execution and monitoring and evaluation efforts of the ZINDUKA program. GRS continues to provide IDYDC with technical support.

IDYDC Malaria tournamentOn October 25th, IDYDC hosted a Malaria Community Event at the FIFA Football for Hope Center in Iringa, Tanzania. The event featured a soccer tournament, which included 8 teams of 8 players each (64 youth aged 10-16). These 64 youth took part in 2 malaria focused ZINDUKA activities (Bed Net Ball & Malaria Facts/Nonsense). A total of 253 people were tested for malaria, (the most we have tested at an event to date!!!!), of which, 176 were under the age of 15. IDYDC estimates that 400 people of all ages from Iringa attended the event. The event was an undeniable success and had a huge impact in Iringa.

Check out a few more pics from the event below.

IDYDC Malaria tournament

IDYDC Malaria tournament

IDYDC malaria event


Post submitted by Logan Loya.


Grassroot Soccer Presents at UN Women German National Committee International Symposium

In late September, Grassroot Soccer South Africa Director of Development and Strategy Chris Barkley presented our work using soccer to promote gender equality among adolescents at an international symposium hosted by the German National Committee of UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women). The symposium was titled “Sustainable, equal, fair – act now! Gender equality in the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development.”

The backdrop to Mr. Barkley’s presentation was our SKILLZ Street program, which focuses on providing both HIV prevention education, increased self-efficacy, opportunities for sport, and increased knowledge and access to sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, GRS has been able to improve our approach to preventing gender-based violence, increasing the knowledge level and training of our female SKILLZ Street coaches, and provide better access to youth-friendly sexual assault counseling services.

UN Women Germany presentation

Grassroot Soccer's Chris Barkley presents to a full crowd at UN Women German National Committee International Symposium.

The GRS presentation illuminated community level issues around gender inequality. The crux of the presentation was that adolescence is an important developmental phase – it is often when gender roles and expectations amplify as people transition into adulthood and as young people start to have romantic/sexual relationships and explore their sexuality. Therefore access to effective sexuality education is critical and gender is a central theme of sexuality. GRS research has shown that patterns of violence against women start early in adolescence in South Africa, highlighting the need to engage young people around gender equality. Globally, experiences of violence in childhood is the strongest predictor of violence perpetration later in life – so although GRS works with young people, we recognize the need for whole community transformation – and the need for ways to break cycles of violence. How do you mobilize communities to promote gender equality and zero tolerance for violence? That’s a question GRS wants to answer and we’re working with many stakeholders to figure out how we can contribute to a safer, more just and equal South Africa.

UN Women presentation

Explaining the history of Grassroot Soccer.

GRS is grateful to both the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and to the UN Women German National Committee for this opportunity.