GDM Futeco Park

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GDM Futeco Park

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Establish Futeco Park which brings football and ecology together as a sustainable social development initiative. Post war Mozambique is not spending money on sport infrastructure for youths. We have a model that includes 1500 trees, organic vegetables, 3 football fields and computer literacy; an holistic, organic and relational approach. BY building a physical model of integrated development we hope to inform theoretical paradigms where hunger, playing, infrastructure, capacity and HIV-Aids are not split up into isolated boxes.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Post-War Mozambique has many challenges and providing infrastructure for youths are not a priority. Without the physical space to play and learn, capacity building and engaging youths in a constructive manner becomes very difficult. Manica has 40 000 people and one dirt football field. This means that young men normally gets preference over young boys and girls. These kids are very poor and deserve a safe, clean and beautiful space to play and learn. In stead of waiting for a place GDM has been learning and working with the surrounding it has, like converting a ld bull-fighting arena, into a training ground. Funders are always keen to build capacity, to save the planet or to do HIV-Aids and education; therefore GDM came up with a holistic plan that combines all these elements. With poor parents, an absense of local business and an over-burdened local government, it is a major challenge to provide capital and cash to assist kids to play and learn.

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

Poor people require holistic solutions to the challenges they face, because their lives are integrated. In a poor rural town like Manica, the youths dont separate their issues of hunger, life-skills, computer literacy, HIV-Aids or playing football. Therefore GDM is creating Futeco Park, a physical space that reflects the family values of the organisation. Futeco Park is a mix of football and ecology and includes planting 1500 trees, making 3 football fields, organic vegetables, accommodation and training facilities. In Africa, sport (football) and conservation programs are normally not implemented together. Besides addressing environmental issues, trees, specifically fruit trees are also a source of nutrition and income. Footballers invest in their future by planting Mango, Litchi, Papaya, Banana, Orange and Nut trees. In addition all sorts of indigenous or traditional trees and plants are grown, for cultural and utilitarian reasons. We have sacrificed 6 years, doing capacity building without any good infrastructure, now it is time to create a space that reflects the human relations that GDM has established. For poor people a space is never just about utility, it is symbolic and motivational, like monuments, which makes kids proud and motivated. For wealthy people it is easy to say 'its not about a building' but if a kid does not have a place to kick a ball, learning becomes difficult. OUr approach is to creat one place where vulnerable kids can be safe and motivated. A field for older youths, a field for boys and a field for girls, all in one yard, full of learning spaces, fresh produce to consume and also having internet available. In this way youths perform their own peer-to-peer afterschool. These elements coupled with the programs normal activities of life-skills, football training and social responsibility provides a foundation for sustainable development. To establish and maintain the site, we use the 'more than a player' program for older youths.
Impact: How does it Work

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

starting with only one team of vulnerable youths, GDM has now more than 15 groups that trains 5 times per day. This includes girls football, which is a first ever for Manica. In 2008 the work culminated in this small town being National Junior Football champions of Maozambique! Further impact is the change of behaviour of the so called 'soccer stars' young adult boys who each adopt a social responsibility as part of their off-field duties. Over 500 youths have been trained in computer literacy and more than 300 youths regularly receive football and life-skills training. The Mozambican Minister of Sport and President of the Football Federation has visited Manica to witness the impact of the program and the municipality donated 10 hectares of land to expand the program. Through SFW Sony Europe chose GDM for a mentoring programme and they are helping to turn GDM's vision into a professional business plan. Increased participation and increased gender equality are positive signs, as is improved organisational indicators like audited financial statements and management structures. These indicators show that GDM is improving externally and internally. One of the GDM Directors has now been invited to do a daily slot on the local radio station to extend our work and ideas to a wider audience. GDM also produced three young players that went to Mozambican First (top) Division Football, not just because of their play, but due to their life-skills.
About You
GDM Grupo Desportivo de Manica
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name

van Heerden


GDM Grupo Desportivo de Manica


, MN

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

GDM Grupo Desportivo de Manica

Organization Phone

+27 828151224

Organization Address

29 EN 6 Manica, Manica, Mozambique

Organization Country

, MN

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, MN

Do you have a patent for this idea?


We have already acquired 10 hectares of land from the local government and we have cleared relevants part of it and establish clean water supply. Next up is to plant 1500 trees, to level 2 more football fields, to build basic accommodation for visitors and orphans and to further establish the organic vegetable garden. Executives from Sony Europe are helping us to finalise a comprehensive business plan. Thereafter we need to market the initiative and involve a variety of stakeholders. Lastly we are committed to write up and monitor the local impact and the academic lessons to be learned from the initiative.


THis will provide a safe and beautiful space where youths can learn and play. The first group of beneficiaries will be the local kids from Manica.
Importantly the site is used as a stimulus for regional development and impact and will be used by visiting teams, academics, volunteers and tourists.
The trees and vegetables will provide food security and improved conservation.
The running of the whole initiative is also a practical management and entrepreneurial school where youngsters receive on the job training.

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

Year one and two: Financial investment to establish the infrastructure
Year two and three: networking to involve diverse participants

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Rural Mozambique is not a donor favorite, banks are not even an option, so the biggest threat is not raising the required funds for infrastructure.

How many people will your project serve annually?


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

Less than $50

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?

, MN

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

University of Johannesburg, Laureus, Streetfootballworld, Arsenal in the Community, Idasa

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 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.

Kids can not provide the infrastructure for their playing and learning by themselves. We need a variety of strategic alliances to join hands and work together to make the plan work. Government gives land, Sony writes a business plan, other NGO's provide training. University students design plans.

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

Finalise all planning tools (including sustainability plan)
Secure funding for first two phases of project
Establish regular visitors and volunteers at the site.

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

I grew up in a privileged home where I took for granted to have a field to play rugby on, transport to training, a ball to kick, travel to other towns to play matches. My exposure to kids in Manica who cant even play football because noone has funds to buy a ball, or there is literally no space to play broke my heart. I realised I grew up lucky, and I have to share my luck. In Manica I discovered that two of the kids I knew did not have parents and they were living of green mangoes which they picked from trees before it was ripe. Kids like this, who go to bed hungry, will always be victims of crime, HIV-Aids, lack of education, etc until someone cares to help them improve their overall situation.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

This whole idea is really a group effort, something born out of the very tangible needs in Manica. The core group who first articulated the plan was Shortcover Chikwandingwa (local musician), Nelson Veremo (GDM Treasurer) and Schalk van Heerden. For us, the needs were so apparent that the plan almost seems logical. BUt we soon realised that people treat problems in seperate budgets, we want to fight for an idea that is driven from below, looking at what a kid needs to grow up well, our project is grassroots driven, not designed to fit into donor catagories.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

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