Soccer 4 Hope

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Soccer 4 Hope

South Africa
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Soccer 4 Hope (S4H) aims to address the urgent need to empower women and girls, build their personal skills, and fight the pandemics of sexual violence and HIV/Aids. S4H exposes females to sport through a comprehensive life skills program. Soccer 4 Hope is providing fun sports programs in safe places for girls at schools and shelters, giving them a rare chance to play soccer, while providing them with knowledge, information, and opportunities to discuss and debate these sensitive issues. Our trained youth facilitators, called All Stars (staff) and MVPs (volunteer coaches) deliver an innovative Skills 4 Life curriculum, addressing the importance of our 7 Tools: integrity, self-esteem, self-awareness, focus, sense of humor, responsibility, and Ubuntu. Our modules also address the challenges these girls are currently facing, such as HIV/Aids, substance abuse, gender/risk, and leadership/conflict resolution. By teaching "Skills 4 Life" using our Soccer Leagues as a vehicle, S4H empowers the young women and girls of South Africa's disadvantaged communities. By learning to stand tall in a male-dominated sport, these women learn to stand tall in the male-dominated world.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The communities served by S4H are plagued by the challenges of HIV, crime, drugs, poverty, and gender issues. African children in disadvantaged townships lack role models, sufficient education, positive programs and vital information due to poverty-related issues. Youth face these social pressures and often do not have an outlet to express themselves and avoid negative influences. Additionally, the lack of opportunities for women in soccer was one of the main reasons in making S4H teams and leagues exclusively for girls. We are addressing the lack of access to soccer for girls and dearth of skills and employment for women in sport. By giving real life experience and training for women, we are expanding opportunities for them to earn a living in the sports world. There are very few soccer leagues for girls in the country. Training is also an issue; despite a great deal of raw talent there is little in the way of technical knowledge of the sport or vital equipment like footwear and uniforms. There is a desperate need for women to be trained in sports administration and team management, and to teach girls how to battle the immense challenges they face daily such as HIV and rape.

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

S4H is innovative both it its broader mission and in the concrete technology it has pioneered as an NGO. Firstly, S4H is unique in that it is focused solely on girls and female empowerment; historically a taboo concept in South Africa. S4H is a place for young girls to be recognized for their talents and courage, where there is a huge potential for these athletes to blossom mentally and physically. Our all girl team model will allow these girls a safe place, without the embarrassment or pressure of boys, for open and honest dialogue. S4H is further challenging gender norms and exclusions in South Africa by purposefully choosing women to hold positions of authority and decision-making power in their programs. Secondly, S4H has found an innovative way to demonstrate its societal impact by implementing a cost-effective system to measure and track its performance. The organization uses widely accessible mobile technology to gather and share information that might previously have been lost or delayed in red tape. S4H has commissioned Dashboard, an innovative market research company, to design and maintain a feedback mechanism for them. This simple system uses SMS to gather key metrics about their operations. It is cheap to run, easy to use and does not require investment in fancy equipment. Structured feedback from participants and trainers is submitted immediately after training events, and then automatically validated, before being reported live on a website. The previous process of gathering feedback through paper based surveys and forwarding them to a central venue for analysis is now removed. The program directors and funders are now able to see exactly what is happening at any time, from anywhere in the world. Any problems can immediately be identified and resolved. The net result is that S4H Directors are able to manage more effectively, stakeholders are consistently informed about what is happening on the ground, and funding decisions are made more efficiently.
Impact: How does it Work

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

S4H currently empowers and uplifts 2000+ female youth (ages 11 – 13) within the Western Cape of South Africa, through the implementation of the Soccer and Skills 4 Life program by 30+ trained youth facilitators (ages 16 – 23). Our programs run 3 times per week, for 90 minutes each. S4H is unique in that it employs local leaders from each community to educate and deliver our programs. They are the agents of change. The children emulate them, aspire to be like them, and the coaches are seen as heroes in their communities. Unlike HIV/AIDS education programs that provide only a brief intervention, S4H’s peer educators/coaches meet with children two to three times per week, thus increasing the likelihood that the education they receive will change their behaviors. Our youth participants are taught through games, role-playing activities, and discussions – not lectures. It’s crucial that we don’t merely tell our athletes how to use a skill, but that they make each skill their own through play. In addition, S4H offers its staff and volunteers a variety of incentives and opportunities, including access to computers, uniforms and sneakers, first aid and referee training, coaching clinics, and advice on higher education and career development. In terms of material impact, as of 2009 S4H has been responsible for the creation of 6 community soccer leagues, with participation in said leagues drawing from 27 different primary schools. S4H boasts 750 primary school girl participants, and has already trained 45 high school soccer coaches and distributed 550 pairs of soccer boots. Additionally, S4H has held 20 community events and currently reaches and inspires over 2000 youths through its outreach programs. (all figures as of 2009)
About You
Soccer 4 Hope
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Soccer 4 Hope


, NY

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Soccer 4 Hope

Organization Phone


Organization Address

PO Box 895, East Hampton, NY 11937

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, WC

Do you have a patent for this idea?


S4H provides camps and activities that keep kids off the streets, as well as role models in the form of our trained MVP and All Star coaches who teach life skills and engage them in the sport they love. This is accomplished by: 1-procuring donated recycled soccer equipment from America and Canada, and 2-recruiting and training local youth leaders who implement year-round soccer teams, clinics and tournaments for children in the community while integrating our proven HIV prevention and life skills curriculum with fun athletic competition. With a new focus on decreasing risky behavior and giving young women a chance for healthy, safe and productive lives, our aim is to change community perceptions, attitudes and the behavior of the young people and coaches in our programs, creating responsible athletes and leaders for the future. The education of the community as a whole about the importance of women in sport is imperative. The girls and women coaches are breaking major culture and gender barriers through their participation in S4H, creating a powerful shift of the game and attitudes in the community.


S4H expects to empower women and girls, build their personal skills, and fight the pandemics of sexual violence and HIV/Aids. S4H provides fun sports programs in safe places for girls at schools and shelters, giving them a rare chance to play soccer, while providing them with knowledge, information, and opportunities to discuss and debate these sensitive issues. GOALS: By December 2010 – Consolidate current Cape Town Metro Program, 37 schools in 6 communities, 740 girls in Skills 4 Life programs, 74 MVP volunteers, 6 All Star Community Coordinators, 3110 youth inspired by outreach. By December 2011 – Achieve 100% program growth in Cape Town Metro area, 37 schools in 6 communities, 1500 girls in Skills 4 Life programs, 150 MVP volunteers, 8 All Star Community Coordinators, 4980 youth inspired by outreach, establish Soccer League in West Coast region. By December 2015 - Achieve 100% program growth in Cape Town Metro area, 75 schools in 8 communities, 3000 girls in Skills 4 Life programs, 300 MVP volunteers, 10 All Star Community Coordinators, 6220 youth inspired by outreach, establish Soccer Leagues in three additional rural regions: Eden, Central Karoo, and Eastern Cape.

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

As a grassroots organization running on a shoestring budget, but with many opportunities to build our organization and become more sustainable, we are aiming to manage more effective partnerships and receive foundation and corporation support. This will require strengthening our financial, public relations, M&E, and up-management capacity. Accomplishing our goals will require focus on finances and public relations. We need to continue to grow our relationship with funders and supporters, including strengthening our ties with several key stakeholder partners. We are now closely examining how we are representing ourselves to the world and we are continually aiming to expand and diversify our funding base. It is crucial that we continue to work with our PR team to share our challenges and successes with the world, focusing on getting our SMS feedback system up and running. As PR improvements increase revenue, we hope to make vast personnel additions and improvements, including hiring 2-4 more salaried All Star Coaches, increasing the recruitment, education, and training of MVP Volunteers, and creating 3 new staff positions of S4H program manager, bookkeeper/accountant and PR/HR/Development Manager. Increasing our workforce will stimulate growth by freeing up our directors to focus on expansion and on achieving our stated goals for 2011, 2015, and beyond. Increased funding will also allow us to overcome communication and transportation barriers by purchasing new vehicles, cell phones, and computers.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Potential Problems:
-Workforce: Currently our directors are constantly bogged down with Intern/Volunteer responsibilities: answering many emails, answering questions, assessing strengths, etc. With our directors alleviated of this role, they can focus on larger tours, networking, and communicating with visiting international teams and important individuals
-Transport: One of our two station wagons recently broke down, and our newest van was stolen in 2009. It has been difficult moving people and keeping up with the action, and we are actively looking for vehicles to transport our coaches to events, trainings and other important events.
-Finance: We need to liberate directors of the responsibility of petty cash, receipt and money management and let them concentrate on their specific roles. We need to Implement new financial management systems that will allow us to qualify for European funding.
-Monitoring & Evaluation: Unrolling the complete Dashboard system to the entire program in Cape Town or Zimbabwe will require a managed system by an exclusive team. First we must overcome some challenges of cell phones and air-time, and manage the systems for a successful rollout. We need more access to computers in multiple locations so SMS’s and website communication can be more easily accessible to our people. We also need a completely successful system to be rolling as a pilot in several targeted communities to work out the kinks and figure out budgets for full roll out.

How many people will your project serve annually?


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

$50 - 100

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?

, WC

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Hoops 4 Hope

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.

-Grassroots Soccer/FIFA Football for Hope Center - We share a ciricullum with Grassroots Soccer and have also worked together with them in combined community events. With use of FIFA's beautiful pitch, S4H started a successful league in Khayalitcha, using this field as our focal point for many events and tournaments held there.
-Ikamva Labantu/The Rainbow Center - We manage membership, events, schools and outreach programs within the community of Guguletu for S4H, using their Rainbow Center in Gugulethu as a headquarters.
-The One & Only Hotel - We are establishing a robust sponsorship with this hotel which is providing not only donations, but training opportunities for All Stars, uniforms for teams, food for all events, and transport for our teams. S4H has created a partnership that is giving us transport with the hotel van company, to transport our coaches to events, trainings and other important events.
-Western Cape Department of Education & Western Cape Department of Health - These departments have shown keen interest in incorporating sport into the current peer education model, providing us with important links to local schools.

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

1-We need to focus on our MVPs, a.k.a., our volunteer, high-school aged coaches. These are our target group. We need to both expand our recruitment of these volunteers and increase the amount of experience, training, and education they receive. These individuals are the true catalysts for change within their communities, and we need to maximize their effectiveness as educators, coaches, and role models for our younger kids. They are our youth leaders of the future.
2-We need to continue to expand and improve upon our curriculum, which currently includes HIV/AIDS prevention, substance abuse, exploring gender, leadership and conflict resolution, and the 7 Tools: integrity, self-esteem, self-awareness, focus, sense of humor, responsibility, and Ubuntu. We want to augment this curriculum development with better training materials by outsourcing to a specialist to design and better organize workbooks which would be professionally printed.
3-We need to improve our organization and infrastructure. We want to reach as many areas and individuals as possible as effectively and efficiently as possible. To do so will require a number of upgrades. We need improved transport in the form of vehicles that can take our MVps to schools and events. We need improved communication technology, both in terms of cell phone and internet access and in terms of implementing our new SMS M&E system. Finally, we need an expanded, more specialized staff so we can truly reach our potential as an organization.

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

The beginning of Soccer 4 Hope marks the culmination of many different ideas advocated by founder and director Mark Crandall. Mark's idea originally developed when he became aware of the vast supply of lightly used sports equipment that goes to waste in America. In Crandall's words, "Here in America a pair of used sneakers that we think is finished is not really finished at all, and most of us have a few pairs just sitting in the back of our closets." Mark saw the potential to use this excess supply to bring sport to the underprivileged children of South Africa. What started as simply bringing over old sneakers to Cape Town quickly evolved into Hoops 4 Hope, a global charity that since 1995 has not only supplied sneakers, uniforms and balls, but also built basketball courts, organized camps, leagues, and tournaments, and taught an HIV/AIDS and Life Skills curriculum to the at-risk youth of South Africa. Soccer 4 Hope has sprung into being out of this original model, bringing over soccer equipment by the container-load from America and Canada to provide positive athletic programs for the young women of South Africa. Soccer 4 Hope combines Hoops 4 Hope's central tenants of sport, youth, and education with a renewed focus on the urgent need to empower women and girls, build their personal skills, and fight the pandemics of gender inequality, sexual violence and HIV/Aids. Crandall points to 3 moments/factors that have inspired the all-girl program. 1-The lack of opportunities for women in soccer: there are very few soccer leagues for girls in the whole country, as the leagues and resources are traditionally dominated by men's and boys’ teams. During the 2008 SoccerEX convention in Johannesburg with 3 floors of soccer-related business and development around the upcoming World Cup, there was absolutely no girls soccer representation! 2-In a high school on the west coast of South Africa where girls are getting gang raped in the bathrooms, a focus group of boys at the high school didn’t mention it being a problem. But every girl identified rape as major problem at their school and their community. 3-In a region ravaged by HIV, South African girls are 4 times more likely to contract the disease than their male counterparts. These sad facts not only inspire Crandall to continue his mission of teaching life skills and health education through sport, but also to commit to many of the most pressing gender-specific issues facing South Africa today.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Mark Crandall is the Founder and Director of both Hoops 4 Hope and now Soccer 4 Hope. Crandall first traveled to Africa in 1984 at age fifteen to spend a year of high school as a Rotary exchange student in Zimbabwe. He graduated from the University of Vermont 90' with a BA in sociology and attended the School of International Training in Australia. He founded Hoops 4 Hope in 1995, and Soccer 4 Hope 2007. Crandall spends the majority of the year with his family in Africa managing his programs, but returns to the United States during the summer to raise money and run a sports camp for American youth. Crandall is a firm believer in the power of sport and teamwork to institute profound social change, instilling youth with confidence, character, and knowledge that will empower them to become the leaders of the future. Crandall's magnetic personality and enthusiasm make him an ideal leader for such an organization, as he is constantly expanding his network globally to draw support from North America, Africa, and Europe. Crandall's determination, perseverance, and work ethic never fail to inspire all who meet him to join him in his mission.

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