Grassroot Soccer Operations Manager Primrose Sethule Dube (right) hands over the plans for the Football For Hope Centre (site in background) which will be constructed at Luveve.

Construction on the Bulawayo Football For Hope Centre (FFHC) in Zimbabwe is set to begin, as contractors met early this week to finalize construction plans. Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe was chosen to run this centre by FIFA. The FFHC is part of FIFA’s “20 Centres for 2010”, the official social responsibility campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by South Africa. The aim of the campaign is to create 20 Football for Hope Centres to promote public health, education and football in disadvantaged communities across Africa.

The facility will house rooms for educational activities and community gatherings, public health services, office space and an artificial turf. It will also include several all purpose rooms for private counseling and testing.

Construction of the FFHC is meant to commence 10 days after the official hand over of the site and will be done within a 20 week period. The contractors project a completion date of October 10, 2013.

View of back of future FFHC.

A conceptual view of the back of the future FFHC, created by partner Architecture for Humanity.

Bulawayo FFHC’s mission will be to provide a safe, productive space for the delivery and dissemination of soccer-based HIV prevention education and services, and create and support of programs for healthy community development and enrichment. The centre will further the Grassroot Soccer vision of a generation mobilised through soccer to fight the spread of HIV, and will enable local youth to access skills, services, and programs that help them make informed decisions and build healthy and productive communities.

GRS Zimbabwe will use the FFHC to implement their existing programmes and curriculum, including the SKILLZ programme, which focuses on HIV education. The FFHC will also be used as a forum for VCT tournaments, and will enable GRS to explore new ways of delivering programmes. The FFHC will host programming for out-of-school youth and training courses for in-school children.

Grassroot Soccer currently manages two other Football for Hope Centres, both in South Africa. The Khayelitsha, South Africa FFHC was the first centre to open, in December 2009. The Alexandra, South Africa FFHC, outside Johannesburg, is currently in the design and site work phase.

The creation of the Bulawayo FFHC is a collaboration between “20 Centres for 2010” campaign partners FIFA, the streetfootballworld network, and Architecture for Humanity. In addition Grassroot Soccer has worked closely with the local community to secure a site that will be accessible to community members. We are thrilled to see the official start of construction!