SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA, December 1, 2011 – NIKE, Inc. and Grassroot Soccer (GRS) today announced that they will extend their partnership to utilize the universal language of soccer to provide young people in Africa with the knowledge and skills they can use to turn the tide on the HIV epidemic and live healthy, productive lives.
This partnership recognizes a two-year commitment to scaling up GRS programs in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The partnership was kicked off today with a World AIDS Day commemoration and celebration at the Nike Football Training Center in Soweto. The event combined a soccer tournament with voluntary HIV counseling and testing services. Nike hosted the event, with GRS as a featured partner. The event drew hundreds of participants.
Grassroot Soccer is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and empower communities to stop the spread of HIV. This new commitment between GRS and Nike comes on the heels of a previous 3-year partnership that provided HIV counseling and testing for thousands of people, afforded life-saving educational interventions for nearly 100,000 youth, and created soccer-themed educational materials that reached millions of people. Under this new agreement, Nike will continue to play a key role in the AIDS response throughout southern Africa by providing support for the scaling up of GRS programs in Soweto, increasing the reach of HIV testing events throughout South Africa, supporting the development of GRS coaches (HIV educators), and expanding educational and health services for youth in Zimbabwe.
“Nike has a dual approach to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, by delivering funds to directly support programmes that offer education and medication on the ground, and through our ongoing partnership with Grassroot Soccer, Nike is using sport as a vehicle to bring youth together to teach them about basic life skills and HIV education,” said Nokuthula Zwane, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Nike South Africa.
“Working from the Nike Football Training Center in Soweto everyday, we see what a powerful influence soccer is on the lives of young people in the community,” said Gregory Laing, Grassroot Soccer Soweto Site Coordinator. “We’re excited to continue our Nike partnership and take our programs to the next level to reach even more youth. By reversing the course of the AIDS epidemic here in southern Africa we can unlock the potential of whole communities.”
About NIKE, Inc.: NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned Nike subsidiaries include Cole Haan, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand. For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com
About Grassroot Soccer: GRS is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and empower communities to stop the spread of HIV. The vision of GRS is a world mobilized through soccer to create an AIDS-free generation. GRS has programs in 10 African countries with flagship sites in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Founded by four professional soccer players, Grassroot Soccer is mobilizing the most vulnerable population of youth ages 12 – 19 to break the cycle of AIDS by engaging local coaches who equip young people with the knowledge, skills and support they need to avoid HIV. For more information visit www.grassrootsoccer.org