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Ribbon SPOTLIGHT 2022
Promoting Primary HIV and Violence Prevention and Social Asset Building for Very Young Adolescents

Grassroot Soccer: SKILLZ Core

location_on South Africa
SKILLZ Core is a mixed-gender, rights-based, gender transformative intervention for very young adolescents that considers the profound changes brought about by puberty. It offers positive youth role models, increases self-concept, physical health, and school performance, creates safe space to discuss power dynamics and gender norms, and introduces core sexual and reproductive health topics.
Grassroot Soccer Zambia, SKILLZ Core Participant
"I learnt that my body is mine and I have grown up with this confidence which has equipped me to take care of myself as a girl."

Grassroot Soccer Zambia, SKILLZ Core Participant


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Policy Report: Social and Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
600 000
Updated on August 9th, 2022
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Grassroot Soccer recognizes that the transformative period from 9-14 years old is a unique moment to create positive relationships between very young adolescents and the health system, shape lifelong health-seeking behaviors, and mitigate factors that put girls and boys at risk of HIV, violence, and other negative health outcomes.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Grassroot Soccer's mixed-gender SKILLZ Core intervention for very young adolescents ages 9-14 is an evidence-based, interactive, social asset building curriculum designed within a rights-based, gender transformative framework and considers the profound changes brought about by puberty. SKILLZ Core is delivered in schools or other community-based settings and is implemented by young adult mentors trained as “Caring Coaches” who facilitate interactive games, physical movement, and learning-by-doing to address core sexual and reproductive health and rights topics including HIV and violence prevention, gender, power dynamics, and future orientation/goal setting.

How has it been spreading?

Grassroot Soccer and its network of more than 60 Implementing Partners have implemented SKILLZ Core in 39 countries, reaching more than 600,000 youth ages 9-14. SKILLZ Core has been employed as a primary HIV and violence prevention intervention for very young adolescents on numerous U.S. Government programs (including through United States Agency for International Development [USAID], Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], and through the Peace Corps), positioning SKILLZ Core for greater scale.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

For more information on Grassroot Soccer and SKILLZ Core:


Or submit an inquiry to


HundrED Academy Review

Scalability is evident already in this innovation. Sport is a unifying force and soccer does not require a lot of resources. Opportunities to teach these important skills and knowledge through sport and play are accessible through this innovation.

- HundrED Academy Member

This is tackling real and hard issues for the very vulnerable and changing opinions of gender roles and biases. This is extremely important work and has the potential to change lives.

- HundrED Academy Member
Grassroot Soccer leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize at-risk youth in developing countries to help them overcome challenges, flourish in life and impact their communities. Social and emotional learning is at the core of this innovation as skills such as self-management, social awareness and relationship skills are developed through sports and play.
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

See this innovation in action


Achievements & Awards

November 2021
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
June 2021
June 2021
Innovation page created on

Spread of the innovation

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