Barclays Bank has entered into a three-year $300 000 partnership programme with Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe aimed at using the power of the sport in the fight against HIV and Aids in Bulawayo.
The programme, dubbed “Skillz for Youth” was launched at Mawaba Primary School in Lobengula on Wednesday.
In a statement to NewsDay Sport on Friday, Barclays Bank said the programme is aimed at reaching out to 16 000 children in Bulawayo.
“The programme entitled ‘Skillz for Youth’ is part of the Barclays Spaces for Sports initiative and aims at harnessing the power of soccer to stop the spread of HIV in Zimbabwe. The partnership also builds self-esteem and self-efficacy in Zimbabwean youth by empowering local role models and increasing community ownership and awareness. With an anticipated direct reach of 16 000 children and an indirect reach of 100 000, Skillz for Youth is anticipated to positively impact the Bulawayo community,” the statement said.
Speaking at the launch, the bank’s managing director George Guvamatanga said the programme was the commercial bank’s part in ploughing back to the community.
“Today marks another exciting chapter in the eventful history of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe. As a corporate citizen, Barclays Bank is very eager to be involved in projects that benefit the community. The Skillz for Youth project is another way in which we are giving back to the community,” Guvamatanga said.
Grassroot Soccer executive director Methembe Ndlovu had this to say about the bank: “Their continued efforts through the Barclays Spaces for Sports programme will offer an opportunity to bring in more players into football for health and development, reaching out to more children who are faced with a plethora of challenges, including vulnerability to HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe,” Ndlovu, is also Zifa board member (development).
The programme will begin in Bulawayo initially, with plans to spread to Gweru in 2013.
The Grassroot Soccer Skillz curriculum was designed by leading experts in sport, health care, and youth development. Community role models, including professional soccer players and community leaders, will be trained as Barclays Spaces for Sports coaches to implement the lessons.
Grassroot Soccer trains soccer stars, soccer coaches and peer educators to deliver an interactive HIV prevention curriculum to youth, providing them with the knowledge, skills and support to remain HIV free.
The Wednesday launch was officiated by Vice-President John Landa Nkomo and was also attended by Bulawayo Metropolitan Province governor Cain Mathema.