In 2016, our supporters helped Grassroot Soccer make an impact in the lives of many young people.
Below are just 8 highlights of this impact. We are profoundly grateful for the passion and commitment of our donors, partners, and friends! Let’s celebrate what you’ve made possible.
#1: Reached over 100,000 Youth with Health Education, Mentors, and Access to Health Services
Leveraging the power of soccer, by year’s end you will enable GRS to reach approximately 100,000 youth with the mentors, information, and health services they need to thrive. You’ve empowered them to make educated choices about pressing health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, sexual health, gender-based violence, and malaria.
#2: Empowered Girls to Realize Their Potential
Thanks to you, this year Grassroot Soccer was able to expand our girls- focused programming to new geographies, reaching more girls with critical support. We also helped launch the Girls Achieve Power (GAP) Year project through a collaborative partnership in South Africa. The project is working with schools and communities to encourage a culture of health and safety, and promote school retention among adolescent girls, while at the same time shifting gender attitudes and encouraging positive behavior among adolescent boys.
#3: Supported 1,437 Caring Coaches who are Mentoring Youth Every Day
For those youth growing up in challenging circumstances it can be difficult to envision a better future. Role models and mentors are important for inspiring hope and showing a young person what is possible. With your support, Grassroot Soccer supports young community leaders, including local professional soccer players and youth leaders, to be health educators and Caring Coaches. Our Coaches connect personally with participants and become trusted mentors.
#4: Increased Knowledge of Critical Sexual Health and Reproductive Services
Grassroot Soccer provides referrals to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and social support for participants who access these services. GRS graduates have demonstrated an increase in knowledge of critical sexual health and reproductive services. By learning about what’s available now, young people can be set up for a lifetime of accessing health services.
#5: Improved Gender-Equitable Attitudes
Unequal gender norms fuel harmful gender-based violence. Through both single- and mixed-sex education, your support provided safe spaces for coaches and participants to have meaningful conversations around social accountability, gender stereotypes, and harmful gender norms. Both male and female GRS participants have shown improvement in gender-equitable attitudes.
#6: Expanded the reach of our cost-effective VMMC intervention
Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) is one of the most effective HIV prevention interventions in Africa. Grassroot Soccer has developed a once-off, cost-effective program called Make The Cut, which has produced some of the strongest evidence of VMMC demand-creation in two clinical trials in Zimbabwe. In 2016, GRS expanded Make The Cut to several sites. CHAPS Swaziland, a GRS implementing partner, implemented Make The Cut as part of a campaign with adolescent boys in which more than 2,500 boys underwent VMMC over three months. Furthermore, the Uganda Virus Research Institute conducted a pilot of Make The Cut, in which more than 20% of male participants underwent VMMC over three months. Finally, GRS conducted a Make The Cut regional training in July for 38 representatives from nine organizations and six countries. GRS will further scale Make The Cut in the 14 UNAIDS VMMC Priority Countries in 2017.
#7: Supported hundreds of HIV+ youth through support groups
Your support has helped to expand the SKILLZ+ program, which is designed to help HIV+ youth understand the risks that they face, build the life skills they need to make healthy choices, develop trust, and tackle stigma. Participants become part of the SKILLZ Club, which is run by HIV+ Coaches who can share similar life experiences and become trusted mentors in guiding those who test positive through important issues such as acceptance, disclosure, healthy living, and adherence to treatment.
#8: Provided free HIV and/or Malaria Testing to over 35,000 people
Through Voluntary Counseling and Testing Tournaments, GRS harnesses the power of soccer to bring youth and community members together for a fun day of soccer matches combined with access to free HIV testing and counseling services. Through our GRS Partnerships program, youth and community members in areas with a high burden of malaria gain access to free malaria testing. Your support made it possible to reach thousands of youth and community members through these events.