What are Grassroot Soccer Volunteers?
GRS volunteers are typically recent college graduates and young professionals with up to several years of post-college employment experience who have a strong passion for youth development through sport (particularly soccer), education and/or global health. GRS volunteers are hard-working, resilient, independent, culturally sensitive, open-minded, adaptable, creative, intellectually mature, insightful and responsible people who have demonstrated a desire to make a difference in the greatest public health challenge of our lifetime. Grassroot Soccer volunteers play a crucial role in the successful delivery of the GRS programs.
I am about to graduate from high school; can I become a GRS Volunteer?
No. All GRS volunteers must have graduated college and be at least 21 years old prior to their deployment as volunteer. A number of our volunteers come to us having completed graduate degrees and/or having several years of post-college employment experience.
I am not an American/Canadian/African; can I still apply to become a volunteer?
Yes. Applicants are accepted from all nationalities. To apply for a volunteer placement, please utilize this online form, which also includes instructions for supporting documents.
What does GRS look for in a volunteer?
Ideal volunteer candidates are genuinely and wholeheartedly committed to Grassroot Soccer’s mission and methods. Additionally, they will possess and demonstrate:
How long is the volunteer placement requirement?
We expect volunteers to commit to and fulfill a full twelve month placement, typically beginning in early August and ending in late July.
How much money will I need to support myself for a 12-month placement?
We recommend that volunteers make available approximately $10,000 to support themselves for a full year in Africa. Some volunteers have gotten by with less; some have spent more, as costs depend on life style. Volunteers are expected to cover all personal transportation costs to and from Africa, as well as their own living expenses—including visa, food, non-work related local transportation, every day necessities, insurance, entertainment and incidental expenses.
How have other volunteers raised to funds to support their participation?
In the past, volunteers have raised funds through grants from their colleges and universities, letter writing campaigns, fund raising events, on-line fund raising and a number of other methods. Upon your acceptance of a GRS volunteer placement offer, GRS will provide information to you to assist with fund raising.
Do all volunteers have the same roles and responsibilities?
No. Volunteers will all be deployed to Cape Town, South Africa and each will be assigned a specific role to fulfill. Placements to jobs will be made based on GRS’s needs and the volunteers’ skill and interests. An example of the departments into which a volunteer may be placed and descriptions of the work within each department are listed below. Individual placement interviews will be held once the entire volunteer class has been recruited. Volunteers will know their initial job by early June.
Job responsibilities in various departments are listed here.
Do GRS Volunteer teach the Grassroot Soccer curriculum to kids?
No. Effective HIV prevention programs must be locally driven. While Programs volunteers assist with all aspects of program management, kids respond better to local role models who speak their language, share their culture and truly understand their reality. For the most part, none of the GRS expatriate staff are involved in directly teaching kids. Nearly all of the teaching is carried out by local African staff and volunteers. Since students’ English language skills often vary widely across program sites, the curriculum is typically taught in a combination of English and local languages. It would be both ineffective and culturally inappropriate to have expatriates involved in the direct implementation of the curriculum.
As a GRS Volunteer, will I have interaction with kids?
This depends largely on the position to which you are assigned as a GRS volunteer. Programs volunteers will spend a portion of time in the “field,” interacting with both GRS facilitators as well as with participating youth. Program volunteers will be required to conduct site visits to evaluate the programs being delivered by GRS staff and coaches. Programs volunteers may also assist in the implementation of events and testing tournaments, in which they work closely with local African staff as well as with kids. Volunteers in the other departments typically have more office responsibilities, though all volunteers have the opportunity to visit programs and to interact with local staff as well as with kids, and all are called upon to assist with VCT (Voluntary Testing & Counseling) tournaments.
Do all volunteers live and work in the same place?
Yes. Placements for the 2016-2017 year will be based in Cape Town, South Africa. The programs volunteer will routinely travel to the program site in Khayelitsha and may on occasion travel to other sites within southern Africa.
Can I choose the job responsibilities of my volunteer placement?
While volunteers may indicate their preferences for job responsibilities, GRS makes assignments based first on its program needs as well as on each volunteer’s skill-set. Generally, current and past volunteers have been satisfied with their job responsibilities.
What kind of training will be offered?
Educational material will be distributed pre-departure to Africa and will provide general information about living and working in South Africa, GRS’s policies & procedures as well as an introduction to GRS culture, safety and programs. Upon arrival in Cape Town, all incoming volunteers will be required to attend an orientation that will provide an opportunity for the volunteers to connect and to receive site-specific introductory training. This will be followed up by individual job training facilitated by direct supervisors.
What assistance does Grassroot Soccer provide for volunteers seeking housing in Cape Town?
Grassroot Soccer will assist all volunteers to find housing which will allow them to live together in apartments or houses in safe neighborhoods.
Am I able to obtain medical insurance through Grassroot Soccer?
Volunteers must be covered by both emergency accident/illness medical insurance and emergency evacuation insurance for the full duration of their terms of service in Africa. Volunteers must show proof of such insurance—either from their parents’ policies or policies of their own—prior to departure to Africa. Grassroot Soccer does not provide this insurance. Please contact your personal insurance agent or travel insurance provider to find a policy which will provide both medical and evacuation coverage.
Will there be employment opportunities with Grassroot Soccer after my volunteer placement has completed?
Quite possibly. Though it is impossible to make guarantees, several current full-time staff members began their Grassroot Soccer careers as unpaid volunteers. Jobs will be offered to interested volunteers depending on the organization’s needs at the time and your skills/qualifications as a potential employee.
Will I be able to play professional soccer as a part of my volunteer placement?
While most volunteers do not play professional soccer in Africa, if you are interested in doing so, there may be an opportunity. Please let us know as soon as you start the application process that you are interested in playing for a professional team in Africa so that we may make sure it is a good fit for us, for the soccer club and for you. Building connections to local players and teams adds a great deal of value to our work.
Will there be opportunities to play soccer while working for Grassroot Soccer?
Yes! Whether it is in a weekly staff game, a pickup game or, as part of a local futsal team, you will have ample opportunity to play soccer during your year in Africa.