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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.

Through team sport, Yuwa provides a platform for young women to gain confidence to make a change in their world. Through a hub-and-spoke model, building a cadre of 100-plus community sports leaders, mostly women, training 3,000 young women daily within three years – reaching 12,000 through league structure and football festivals.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, Suketu Mehta says India is ‘The Land of No.’ From a hospital dumping a load of medical waste on our field and its administrator denying it with a smirk, to the Army tearing up the field with heavy trucks during a ‘training exercise’, to the state football coach demanding a bribe worth two-months income to complete 12-yr-old Puspa’s passport so she could travel to Sri Lanka to represent India as part of the national team, we are constantly chipping away at this ever-present attitude of lethargy tinged with distain that threatens progress and conspires to keep most young women right where they are.

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

Through team sport, Yuwa provides a platform for young women to gain confidence to make a change in their world. Football has helped to rewrite the script for young women. Their confidence has soared – this is clear even from the first few moments on the field. We called ourselves Yuwa, simply because it is the Hindi word for ‘youth’. Yuwa is creating a cadre of 100-plus community sports leaders and leading coaches, mostly women, who will coach 3,000 young women by the end of 2013. In addition to creating employment of young women, we build employability—through positive peer pressure from teammates, Yuwa’s girls are much more likely to go to school. Twenty-three youth are now on direct scholarship, fourteen of them as part of an intense educational ‘bridge program’ we created in partnership with KGVK Gurukul, a low-cost, high-quality chain of private schools in Jharkhand. Through team-managed savings cooperatives, girls on Yuwa first two teams are each saving an average of Rs 45 per month. What we have demonstrated is a robust and creative approach to reaching some of the most underprivileged of youth, giving them a sense of purpose and self-confidence, and bringing them into the mainstream of India’s Inclusive Growth. The young women who are part of this program have gained a tremendous sense of self-confidence, purpose and achievement. Their attendance at school and attention to their education has also increased sharply—and this is the key. *A girl with 7 years of education marries 4 years later, and has 2.2 fewer children. *If 10% more girls go to secondary school, the country’s economy grows 3%. *When an educated girl earns income, she reinvests 90% of it in her family, compared to 35% for a boy.
Impact: How does it Work

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

From a simple start of 15 girls, the response has been beyond expectation: By January 2010, practice had increased to 55 girls. By May 2010, the program had grown to 120. 25 girls were selected for training by India’s premier football academy, Tata Football Academy; 13 were selected for State U13 team, travelling for the first time outside their village to the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) National Festival in Tamil Nadu; they elevated Jharkhand’s national ranking from 20th to 4th nationally, with wins against Maharashtra (Mumbai) 3-0 and Delhi 8-0. 6 were selected for the Sports Authority of India U16 team. 1 girl, Puspa (12) was one of only 41 girls in India to be selected for the AIFF National Camp in Kerala – and has now been selected for India’s U13 National Team. We are proud of these numbers, but they are a by-product of the real goal. The young women who are part of this program have gained a tremendous sense of self-confidence, purpose and achievement. Their attendance at school and attention to their education has increased sharply. Over 50 girls are attending two Yuwa Club assisted study centers, refurbished community centers built by government that had fallen into disuse or were being used for storage and keeping livestock. Nine students are on Yuwa scholarship to a top private school, and we created a unique ‘bridge program’ with a low-cost, high-quality private school to bring older girls back to lower grades to learn fundamentals they had missed, and accelerate them up.
About You
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Section 1: About You
First Name


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Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name


Organization Phone

612-306-9008 (US) and 9631823908 (India)

Organization Address

Yuwa, Inc., P.O. Box 342, Palo Alto, CA 94302-0342

Organization Country

, CA, Santa Clara County

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, JH

Do you have a patent for this idea?


We continue to win because we outlast this attitude. We push persistently, professionally and usually politely, and if that doesn’t work we go to the newspapers. When Puspa’s passport ordeal was unfolding, a friend who organized one of our campaigns to launch 20 games for girls around India said, “Where most people’s fight would end, that’s where yours begins.” A friend at Coca-Cola India who visited Yuwa’s players on the field said, “You’re becoming an activist.” My reply was, “Sometimes you’ve got to be in order to operate.”
On the ground, there is a groundswell of support, and we are growing something long-term. Through a hub-and-spoke model, we project 3,000 young women practicing daily on our football teams in 29 clusters, practicing daily, by end of 2013. We will be training and employing over one hundred young coaches and community sports leaders, the majority of them women.
Through a league structure and football festivals, we aim to reach 12,000 young women participating.
Through a ‘Virtual Academy’, we will make our program and curriculum available online to other community sports leaders in India and South Asia.


*3,000 young women practicing daily in Yuwa's programs in 29 clusters in three years. *12,000 young women particpating in league structure and football festivals in three years. *Creating employment of 100-plus community sports leaders, mostly women in three years.

Extending our programs in health, education and livelihood to each team of young women.

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

2010: This year will be one of growth slightly different than in 2009. Our first fifteen months we built a youth-led model of community advancement, using team sport as a platform. In response to the successes of the children, UNIFEM offered its endorsement, remarking "The approach adopted by Yuwa is a novel one and the programme in Jharkhand exceptionally successful. We believe this is an approach that works. It has seen the development of a successful team sports model for girls in Jharkhand.” Starting from scratch, we have 120-plus young women practicing daily, and a growing young cadre of female coaches (commmunity sports leaders). Our goal is 400 players by December. Creating a robust program now for training female community sports leaders is the key.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Major security issues for traveling coaches. Drop in quality and fun of practice due to poorly selected, trained or monitored coaches. Funding growth not matching growth in players.

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?

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?

, JH

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.


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.

Funding partnerships are critical, but technical and community partnerships are just as important. A significant portion of our first year funds went to just 8 scholarship students we were sending to a top local private school - a program we found difficult to grow beyond a small number of good students. What about the majority of girls, who were irregular students, many of whom could barely read or write even in 7th or 8th class? We teamed up with KGVK Gurukul, a low-cost, high-quality private school, to create a ‘bridge program’ specifically for Yuwa girls. It offers a 50 percent scholarship, and brings girl students back into 3rd or 4th class to learn the basics, then focuses on accelerating them up by two classes per year until they've caught up. In return, Yuwa's girls are starting and coaching school football teams, and Yuwa is assisting with fee collection. KGVK now wishes for Yuwa to extend this program to five of its schools in rural Jharkhand in 2010.

Commitment of TATA Steel for promoting womens' football in India, organizing residential training camps at Tata Football academy for players and community coaches.

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

1. Coaches selection, 2) Coaches training, 3) Coaches continuing education, monitoring and evaluation

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

During Monsoon of 2008, I stayed six months in a tribal village in Jharkhand, worked for an NGO and volunteered at a local school teaching English. During this time I noticed several things. One was that for young women, the script varied little from place to place: while boys play, girls work. I noticed an immense amount of talent and energy in the young people in villages, but little in the way of education. I noticed that nothing brought together the community like football and festivals – but it was only young men and boys who played football.
I moved back to the US, and lived in New York for five months, but the kids I had worked with in Jharkhand stayed close in my mind. Before I had left Jharkhand, I had made a small scholarship for kids at the school where I’d taught, and when I returned, one of these scholarship students, a twelve-year old tribal girl named Suman Kumari Toppo, said she wanted to play football. I told her that if she organized a team, I would coach along with three boys from the village who were youth leaders.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Franz Gastler is a graduate of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. and Masters in International Political Economy from Boston University. From 2007-2008 he was Consultant to CII's Social Development Initiatives in Gurgaon. At KGVK-India, an NGO promoted by Usha Martin Ltd., he helped launch a $10 million, 10-year partnership for Food Security with Ashoka featured as a model at Clinton Global Initiative 2008 in New York. He lived six months in a tribal village in Jharkhand before co-founding Yuwa, a non-profit organization registered in California and operating in Jharkhand.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Friend or family member

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

Sohini Bhattacharya, Ashoka South Asia, director of partnerships