Grassroot Soccer has recently piloted a new curriculum for youth that uses gender issues as a foundation to discuss healthy sexual behavior and to ultimately stop the spread of HIV. Generation Skillz Utshintsho (meaning ‘change’) is a seven-practice curriculum that targets high school learners.

Grassroot Soccer saw the need to develop Generation Skillz Utshintsho after collecting baseline results from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that is evaluating the impact of GRS’ Generation Skillz program. Almost 4,500 high-school age participants in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, South Africa, took a 170-item sexual behavior survey. Their responses were analyzed and presented to GRS for curriculum design purposes. Some of the most useful and relevant statistics were the following:

  • 24% of males screened positive for harmful alcohol use
  • 61% of sexually active males reported having ever used a condom; 70% of sexually active females reported having ever used a condom
  • 55% of males reported having 3 or more lifetime sexual partners
  • 36% of males reported having ever perpetrated rape
Training of Coaches for Generation Skillz Utshintsho

GRS Coaches in Cape Town, South Africa, at a Feb. 2013 training for implementing Generation Skillz Utshintsho

Based on these statistics, GRS saw the need for a gender-based curriculum with mostly split-sex practices. Included in the curriculum are discussions and lessons around gender-based violence, consequences of unhealthy behavior, identifying unhealthy and healthy relationships, power in relationships, conflict resolution, and identifying and practicing ways to both say and respect ‘no’.

Although Generation Skillz Utshintsho can stand alone, it was initially designed as a follow-up to the Generation Skillz program, which aims to build participants’ skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy to prevent HIV as well as challenge the underlying social norms, in particular gender norms, fueling the epidemic. GRS hopes to see that the Generation Skillz Utshintsho follow-up will only strengthen its impact on participants and empower them to create safer and healthier communities.