Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative
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Sports for Development


Sports for Development

Sport is a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks. In addition, sport has been proven an effective catalyst for promoting ideals crucial for peaceful, locally-driven development.

Grassroot Soccer exemplifies how sports can enhance the effectiveness of health education. The best values of sports, integrity, inclusiveness, and empowerment, mutually reinforce other public health and youth empowerment objectives in this model. The program concurrently engages youth and communities to come together, strengthening community support and public health awareness. Meanwhile, designing and implementing the project through trained youth builds their capacity and motivates them to succeed independently.

Studies conducted by The Population Council and Harvard School of Public Health, Stanford University’s Children’s Health Council, and the Children’s Health Council have consistently and repeatedly evidenced the results of sports through development and the program’s positive effects on children in the developing world. These studies have documented the GrassrootSoccer model’s effectiveness in significantly improving students’ knowledge, attitudes, communication, decision-making skills and reducing risky behaviors.

Ten evaluations in seven countries have shown the Grassroot Soccer program to have positive impact on knowledge, attitudes, stigma, and communication related to HIV. One study in Zimbabwe found that after participating in the GRS curriculum:

  • The % of students who could list three people they could talk to about HIV increased from 33% to 72%
  • The % of students who knew where to go for help for HIV related problems increased from 47% to 76%
  • The % of students who said they would feel comfortable providing emotional support for an HIV positive classmate increased from 52% to 73%
  • The % of students who believe condoms were effective increased from 49% to 71%

(Source Children’s Health Council, 2004 Evaluation)

YEDI’s development models champion the development through sport model and remain accountable and transparent in the communities. Sustainable program delivery is essential, and YEDI collaborates in each community where it works to plan, execute, and evaluate the programs for even stronger results that will continue in the long-term.

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