New sport for development programme will empower young South Africans with valuable life, health and employability skills 

Barclays Spaces for SportsKHAYELITSHA, SOUTH AFRICA (May 9, 2013) –  Barclays Spaces for Sports, USAID and Grassroot Soccer (GRS) are pleased to launch the Grassroot Soccer South Africa Coach Development Programme, a life skills, financial education and employability programme. Targeting 500 young adults aged 18 to 30 to be trained as GRS life skills coaches, the Grassroot Soccer South Africa Coach Development Programme is aimed to empower vulnerable youth with the skills and support to live healthy and productive lives through life skills training, employability skills, and financial literacy.

Grassroot Soccer coaches are the young men and women that directly implement the GRS curriculum and serve as role models for their communities. The Grassroot Soccer South Africa Coach Development Programme is designed to be a two-year capacity development opportunity for these young community leaders. The two-year cycle will include Grassroot Soccer’s intensive life skills training on multiple curriculums as well as skill building development courses in topics such as leadership, financial education, and conflict management. The training and courses will be enhanced by additional hands-on experience and opportunities to gather experience and advice through mentoring and voluntary apprenticeships. The goal of the programme is to prepare the coaches for higher employability and educational opportunities.

Coach circle Barclays launch

Sixty newly trained Grassroot Soccer coaches will also be trained to deliver SKILLZ for Youth, a Grassroot Soccer intervention focusing specifically on financial education. Ten thousand young people in South Africa, aged 11 to 19, will benefit from the three-year programme and graduate from SKILLZ for Youth. This program will equip participants with the skills they need to achieve economic independence and grow their level of security, while emphasizing financial sustainability.

Barclays Spaces for Sports and Grassroot Soccer are concurrently teaming up in Zambia to institute a parallel coach development and financial literacy programme throughout the capital of Lusaka, where GRS works with over a hundred coaches to implement life skills training to local youth.

GRS staff at Barclays kick-off event

Stephen van Coller, Chief Executive, Corporate and Investment Banking and Wealth, Absa and Barclays in Africa said: “Barclays is committed to Africa and aims to empower the next generation with the skills they need to achieve economic independence and security. The Grassroot Soccer South Africa Coach Development Programme is a flagship programme geared to prepare young people for higher employability and educational opportunities. This programme complements our organisation’s values and purpose of helping people achieve their ambitions in the right way. It will give them skills that will help facilitate employment and access to entrepreneurship opportunities. Investing in and developing entrepreneurial skills, life skills and financial skills of young people and creating a better world for our youth through this programme is at the heart of our Citizenship approach.”

Skillz activities at Barclays launch


James Donald, Country Director, South Africa, Grassroot Soccer, commented: “Over the next three years 500 young people will improve their employability while in turn teaching thousands of children vital life skills. The SKILLZ for Youth programme is a leading example of how sport for development programmes can tackle society’s toughest challenges. Grassroot Soccer is honoured to be working on this project with Barclays Spaces for Sports and USAID”.



For further information on this project please call:

Charlie van Exter (Barclays): (44) 0 7775 550485
James Donald (Grassroot Soccer SA): (+27) 021 4265154


Notes to Editors:

Barclays Spaces for Sports:

Citizenship at Barclays is about three things: how we contribute to growth in the real economy; the way we do business; and supporting our communities through investment programmes and the direct efforts of our employees. Barclays Spaces for Sports is a community-based sports programme, which uses sport as a platform to help young people develop life skills and revitalise disadvantaged communities in a sustainable way. In partnership with the Football Foundation, Barclays has delivered 200 physical sports site used by 53,000 people in disadvantaged areas in the UK. Barclays Spaces for Sports has also invested in 15 innovative sports-for-development programmes around the world. To find out more please visit

Grassroot Soccer

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) operates programmes in Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and, as a technical assistance partner, has created sustainable programmes in 17 more of the world’s most HIV affected countries. While GRS’ primary mission is to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, we recognize that HIV/AIDS is heavily influenced by a myriad of social challenges, and that programmes that equip youth to overcome these challenges are most effective in reducing the spread of HIV. Over the past ten years we have worked with specialists in public health, youth education and behaviour change to develop, evaluate and refine our life skills delivery model. Our curriculum design team are experts in developing interactive curricula that use the language and activities of Africa’s most popular game to educate, inspire, and mobilize youth. On a yearly basis GRS recruits, trains and compensates hundreds of Coaches to deliver interventions to young people. Since 2002, GRS has delivered educational interventions to more than 550,000 African youth.