Adolescent boys and young men have diverse needs, interests, beliefs and unique barriers to accessing health services. Effective programming engages with the complex influences shaping their attitudes, decisions and behaviors; resonates with their lifestyles, identities and life stages; reaches them in spaces they already use; creates positive associations with health services; and sees men and boys as potential agents for positive change rather than viewing them as “the problem”. Grassroot Soccer harnesses the power of soccer to engage young men through a medium they know and love. Over 1.2M adolescent boys and young men have graduated from our programs and show improved knowledge of key protective behaviors for HIV, knowledge of, demand for, and uptake of local sexual and reproductive health services, and have more equitable gender beliefs.
Combined with the transformative power of soccer and play-based learning, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is working to change the game for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) around the world. The GRS approach takes gender, power dynamics, and the complex influences and structural factors shaping the life of a girl into account. At the core of it all are GRS’s female near-peer mentor COACHES, who create a safe space for AGYW to learn and improve their health and life skills ASSETS, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) knowledge and self-confidence to use it, facilitate ACCESS to youth-friendly health and social services, and promote ADHERENCE to biomedical treatment and healthy behaviors.
Combined with the power of soccer and play-based learning, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is working to change the game for Youth Living with HIV (YLHIV). The GRS approach considers adolescent development, the challenging transition to autonomous care, and the complex influences and structural factors impacting YLHIV. At the core of GRS’s approach are community-based mentor COACHES, who are openly living with HIV and focus on building the health and life skills ASSETS of YLHIV, including their SRHR knowledge and self-confidence to use it, facilitate ACCESS to a wide range of youth-friendly health and social services beyond required HIV treatment and care, and promote ADHERENCE to biomedical treatment and long-term healthy behaviors. Given YLHIV’s existing vulnerabilities, in response to COVID-19 and heightened barriers to YLHIV accessing essential services due to the pandemic, GRS adapted our methodology and “3A’s” impact model to provide life-saving COVID-19 information along with sustained SRHR and psychosocial support for YLHIV.