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.
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.
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.
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