APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
In 2010, GRS recognized the need for a refined, girls-targeted approach to appropriately address gender-specific challenges in the fight against HIV and AIDS in southern Africa. In response to the unique risk factors that young women face, and the potential that a sport-based approach has to address them, GRS created Skillz Street, an intervention designed to keep young women HIV-free. Led by GRS' community role models, Skillz Coaches, and enhanced by the unique culture developed within Skillz programs, this girl-centered initiative creates a safe space for adolescent girls to play non-competitive soccer, take action in their community, and access vital conversations about HIV and AIDS. The Skillz Coaches are trained to deliver the HIV prevention and 'life skillz' curriculum as well as lead the soccer playing by the participants. Participants must have graduated from one of the GRS Skillz programs offered at their schools in order to be eligible for Skillz Street.
In 2010, Skillz Street was piloted in Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, and Cape Town with between 50 and 100 grade seven female learners in each of the three pilot sites. Pilot projects were monitored and evaluated at different levels of intensity to capture learning from the pilot and enable GRS to begin to assess the impact of the intervention. The most in-depth evaluation of Skillz Street was conducted in Cape Town, with over 900 youth (control, comparison & intervention group). The data collected during this evaluation is being analyzed at present, and the findings will provide useful insights into extending the reach of Skillz Street in South Africa.
Using the power of football as a tool to bring youth together, and working closely with trusted testing, care, and treatment partners, GRS has found tremendous success in implementing HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) events. These testing events increase awareness about HIV testing and treatment services and empower southern African youth to know their status. By incorporating these services into the growing Skillz Street model we are confident that the power of extended interaction with strong community role models and education around HIV testing will provide a safe space for youth to learn their status and make informed decisions to avoid HIV or live positively.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
GRS is ready to scale Skillz Street to reach 12,500 girls by 2014.
2010-11 (pilot phase) - 2400 girl participants. 15 schools. 15 GRS staff members leading Skillz Street. 150 GRS 'coaches' involved in the program. 2 full time monitoring and evaluation resources. Management oversight.
- 2012: 2500 girl participants. 22 schools. 22 GRS staff members leading Skillz Street. 200 GRS 'coaches' involved in the program. 2 full time monitoring and evaluation resources. Management oversight.
- 2013: 3200 girl participants. 30 schools. 32 GRS staff members leading Skillz Street. 220 GRS 'coaches' involved in the program. 2 full time monitoring and evaluation resources. Management oversight.
- 2014: 4400 girl participants. 40 schools. 44 GRS staff members leading Skillz Street. 250 GRS 'coaches' involved in the program. 2 full time monitoring and evaluation resources. Management oversight.
GRS's vision is a world mobilized through soccer to create an HIV-free generation. To achieve this vision, GRS must address gender inequality and the lack of empowerment of young women in southern Africa.
In southern Africa, HIV is predominantly spread through heterosexual sex and is disproportionately concentrated among women and girls - a young woman in South Africa is four times more likely to be HIV-positive than a young man. Research reveals that there are four inter-related factors fueling the explosion of this deadly epidemic: intergenerational/transactional sex, multiple sexual partners, alcohol abuse, and gender-based violence. The lack of a healthy relationship between the genders is at the root of these factors. Until the societies of southern Africa address these factors, the HIV epidemic will continue to rage.
GRS developed Skillz Street to address these devastating dynamics in Southern Africa.