Footballers for Life

This Entry has been submitted.

Footballers for Life

South Africa
Organization type: 
for profit
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Footballers 4 Life is a national intervention programme conceived by retired PSL players and Matchboxology, guided by JHHESA, with funding, endorsement and support received from USAID and PEPFAR. The coach use their celebrity status to address everyday issues that individuals (particularly men) face, i.e. HIV, sexuality, finance, drinking, drugs, handling stress, violence and problem solving.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problem being addressed is the challenge of not just addressing men, but connecting with them in a way that promotes a true up take of the information and the best chance of changing self-defeating behaviours. F4L methodology is highly involved and participatory and, is designed to be applied to real life. When compared to topics that are quite passively taught, the F4L approach has key life skills being internalized at a deeper yet more assessable level. Added to this, the change agents are men that participants can relate to, and this consolidates connectedness.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Football is a passion of the people so using footballers to communicate a message to those people creates instant interest. From there what creates the connection is that the footballers have come from similar communities and they know what it is like to struggle against alcoholism, HIV, lack of finance and a host of other issues. With Footballers For Life, our retired professional players are trained in facilitating and educated in life skills and wellness so that they in turn can educate and uplift communities. Their mentoring skills and belief in personal development gives communities hope and the knowledge to do something proactive about their position. The success stories that the coaches have inspired are heartwarming. When dealing with adults, coaches make use of their Footballers For Life curriculum and when dealing with the youth, use the highly popular Scrutinize facilitation kit (this is HIV-orientated). The coaches are
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Footballers for Life have interacted with over 40,000 people in the last two years and now have a Facebook following and peer education programme called ‘Assistant Coach’ which leaves a lasting source of knowledge and inspiration in communities. F4L also have a strong presence in Correctional Facilities with several inmates declaring their HIV status as a result of a visit by the coaches. Figures achieved since Oct 2009 to end May 2010 in the categories of Abstinence and Be Faithful (AB), Other Protection (OP) and Counseling and Testing (CT): Cumulative Total Targets Progress AB TOTAL 15,583 12,000 129.86% OP TOTAL 10,152 12,000 84.60% CT PROMO TOTAL 16,319 12,000 135.99% 42,054 36,000 116.82%
About You
Footballers For Life/ Matchboxology
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Footballers For Life/Matchboxology

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Footballers For Life/ Matchboxology

Organization Phone

011 442 1925

Organization Address

The Workshop Building, 70-7th Avenue, Parktown North, JHB, South Africa

Organization Country
Your idea
Do you have a patent for this idea?


The Coaches’ facilitation skills and knowledge levels are checked, supervised and improved regularly to ensure the programme is offering the best possible training. The content the coaches work with is highly researched and of a high quality, and is linked to national social campaigns. Pre and post session questionnaires are analysed on a monthly basis followed by feedback sessions with the Coaches. Despite making significant inroads in communities, donor funding is becoming limited and so Footballers For Life is making inroads into workplaces that provide revenue to ensure sustainability of the programme.


We anticipate a take up of the programme by other workplaces once the success of the programme in such settings has been demonstrated. We expect to roll out more extensive curricula to their workplaces and develop additional content to be trained. Such growth would require additional retired footballers joining the team and being trained as F4L facilitators.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

2010-2011: we require a major contract for which we have applied to be signed. This will ensure the programme will have the funding to continue its community outreaches for the following year, plus for the programme to gain revenue-earning credibility. This will ensure our high quality levels can be maintained and that further contracts can be sought.

2011-2012: contracts from previous years should be renewed and additional contracts gained. Additional coaches and staff members should be hired to support the growing programme. Development into additional modules and training requirements would be identified and actioned. Once again, quality levels should be sustained.

2012-2013: growth of the programme and its intentions should be carefully monitored. Changes in communities and donor funding should be monitored and appropriate (re)action taken. Quality and attention to learner needs would continue to be a focus.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

A severe cut in funder’s budget, without an alternate revenue stream having been established, would restrict the programme and render it virtually impossible to operate.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Our umbrella company is Matchboxology

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

As discussed above, F4L has worked in these entities and provided meaning to their training sessions. These interactions have provided F4L with experience and proof of success that will form a base of our applications to other organizations to be paid for our training.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1.Alternate revenue source: this will ensure that as donor funding decreases, the programme is able to continue to operate and grow. To achieve this, sustained efforts are required along with high levels of training quality.

2.Our roll out of the Assistant Coach peer education programme, successfully managing the growth of our Facebook group and intensifying our marketing and public profiling efforts that will assist in growing the programme.

3.The ongoing experience of the Wellness Coaches means that going forward the Coaches will become trainers and not just implementers. This will increase our reach, profile and sustainability.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Footballers for Life (F4L) was set up as a direct response to a call for male focused HIV interventions by The South African National Aids Council (SANAC) and the Government’s National Strategic Plan for HIV an AIDS. The thinking behind this highly effective innovation was that in order for the recipient of the training to achieve maximum connection with the information, firstly they have to feel a maximum connection with the person who is delivering that information! Men are far more likely to connect with a jacked up, authentic, ex-football star who is ‘real’ as opposed to a disconnected ‘HIV expert’ who merely focuses on content or generic approaches. Our challenge was firstly to get ex-footballers to fully grasp the module content and secondly, to train them on how to facilitate in a variety of settings and with a variety of target groups.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Several personalities were involved in the development of this idea, specifically the creative and developmental experts from Matchboxology (including Thulani Grenville-Grey, Cal Bruns and Racuni Naidoo) and JHHESA funders and communication experts (Richard Delate, Mandla Ndlovu).

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Personal contact at Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer