Barclays and GRSOn Wednesday, November 13, 2009, Barclays Bank and Grassroot Soccer Zambia officially launched a 3-year partnership in Zambia under Barclays’ Spaces for Sport initiative. Over 100 guests attended the launch at the Barclays Sports Complex in Lusaka, including employees of Barclays Bank Zambia and GRS Zambia, representatives from partner organizations, 40 GRS coaches, and an entire sixth grade class of GRS program graduates.

The Minister of Sport, Youth, and Child Development, Kenneth Chipungu attended as the government representative and keynote speaker. The Minister said initiatives such as GRS were supplementing Government efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS and that his Ministry is happy to support this partnership and GRS’s HIV prevention work, however possible. Barclays’ representatives Zafar Masud, Managing Director of Southern Africa, and William Durban, Head of Community Relations for Emerging Markets, both hailed GRS’ exceptional work in reaching young people with their HIV/AIDS prevention messages as part of the Barclays Spaces for Sport program.

GRS coach David Kapata treated attendees to a demonstration of Find the Ball, one of GRS’ HIV/AIDS prevention activities. To everyone’s delight, he pulled Masud, Durban, the Minister, and Webster Malido, Head of Barclays Bank Zambia’s Corporate Affairs, from the dignitaries’ table to participate in the activity with the young Skillz graduates.  

Barclays’ Spaces for Sport (S4S) initiative is focused on bringing sustainable sports projects to disadvantaged communities like Lusaka. This is the first S4S project in Africa, and both organizations look forward to expanding the partnership across the continent.

The 3-year Spaces for Sport partnership will see:
•    60 PEP FC Coaches trained on GRS’s HIV prevention and life skills curriculum
•    18,000 primary beneficiaries
•    6 VCT Tournaments linking prevention activities, testing and treatment
•    18 PEP FC members receiving additional capacity building courses

The launch was concluded with the official signing of an MOU between Barclays and GRS, with the drums of Barefeet Theatre Group, who performed throughout the event, beating in the background.