A boy plays "My Supporters" in Buawayo, Zimbabwe.

Thanks to the generous support of Children First, Grassroot Soccer looks forward to 2011 to continue carrying out its comprehensive program aimed at orphaned and vulnerable children throughout Zimbabwe.

Grassroot Soccer first began its partnership with Children First in 2009, but with $94,000 coming from the second extension of this partnership, Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe looks to have continued success in 2011. Because Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe is unique in targeting orphaned and vulnerable children, their curriculum has a broader scope and is able to address more than just HIV knowledge and life skills. The program includes information about basic reproductive health and gender-based violence, provides psychosocial support, and gives access to radio listening groups, which address children’s rights. Through soccer tournaments and community outreach events, Grassroot Soccer is able to help children improve their communities and advocate for issues that specifically affect their lives.

Backed by the appropriate funding and having successfully built their capacity thanks to their previous partnerships with Children First, Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe will begin subgranting to two small community-based organizations in 2011. While Mzilikazi Academy will reach out to youth using soccer and Entumbane will focus on the arts, both organizations fit well with Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe’s mission in that they both work to empower and engage vulnerable out-of-school youth. Grassroot Soccer is grateful for Children First’s continued support and looks forward to the new initiatives of 2011.