Building Skillz in Soweto

Having recently graduated from Brown, Katie Gannett is spending 12 months in South Africa (Aug. 2011-Aug. 2012) as a volunteer intern with Grassroot Soccer.  Founded in 2002 as an international non-profit organization, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) trains soccer stars, coaches, teachers, and peer educators to deliver an interactive HIV prevention and life "skillz" curriculum to youth.  Katie is very excited to have been placed at the site in Soweto, GRS’s newest and fastest growing main site in South Africa.  In her role as a monitoring and evaluations intern, she will be contributing to research that will inform the work of GRS and other organizations in the field of Sport for Development.  She looks forward to sharing her experiences through this conversation.  Given that her position is voluntary, if you would like to contribute to her efforts you can make a donation to her account at Grassroot Soccer using the following button (donations are tax deductible).  Thank you!

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Location

Johannesburg
South Africa
  • Katie Gannett | September 10th, 2012
    I wanted to share with you another story I wrote before completing my internship year in Soweto.  It was amazing getting the parental perspective! On a Friday afternoon at Shomang Primary, Nompumelelo Semelane proudly looked on as her daughter...
  • Katie Gannett | June 26th, 2012
    Aside from scheduling difficulties, another challenge we have faced this term pertains to our HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) events.  Usually, we host an HCT during our Skillz Street program, allowing the participating girls an opportunity to...
  • Katie Gannett | June 20th, 2012
    This week, we are completing our Term 2 interventions.  We did our best to address the challenges related to interventions being pushed to after school hours (described in my last post).  We managed to deliver 29 Skillz 1.1 interventions...
  • Katie Gannett | April 22nd, 2012
    Having finished running interventions during the first school term (Jan-March), our site is facing a new set of challenges for Term 2.  Our coaches typically implement our core curricula during school hours—usually during the Life Orientation...
  • Katie Gannett | April 11th, 2012
    We were recently asked by our headquarters in Cape Town to gather stories about youth that have graduated from one of Grassroot Soccer's curricula at least a year ago.  These stories will be compiled from all sites and distributed to funders in...
  • Katie Gannett | April 2nd, 2012
    On March 21st, Human Rights Day, GRS Soweto hosted an HCT (HIV Counseling and Testing) tournament at the Nike Center. An HCT tournament (one of GRS’ five types of interventions) is a soccer tournament during which participants also have an...
  • Katie Gannett | February 18th, 2012
    Our interventions are off and running—though after a somewhat rough start.  During the first school term (Jan through end of March), we are implementing two of our programs: Skillz 1.1 and Skillz Street.  We paired our 24 new coaches with...
  • Katie Gannett | February 8th, 2012
    The coach recruitment process is complete!  We now have 24 new Skillz 1.1 coaches—an incredibly energetic, passionate group (see above).  I’m so excited to get to know them better and watch them in action in the classroom!  The group...
  • Katie Gannett | January 25th, 2012
    The main focus of the last few weeks has been on coach recruitment.  We are looking to recruit 20 more coaches to help us with delivering our core Skillz 1.1 curriculum in primary schools, as our current 27 coaches will be focusing on...
  • Katie Gannett | January 13th, 2012
    We’re off and running again!  2012 is sure to bring lots of excitement and plenty of new challenges.  Before going much further, there are two main developments to mention.  First, a new site coordinator will be joining us next week....
  • Katie Gannett | January 3rd, 2012
      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I just returned home from an incredible two-week holiday adventure in Botswana and Namibia with 3 amazing GRS interns—Lauren and Trevor based in Kimberly andAudrey A.K.A "Podge" based in Cape Town. We made...
  • Katie Gannett | November 27th, 2011
    Despite being based halfway around the world, we haven’t forgotten about some of our favorite American holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving.  For Halloween, Bengy and I decided to fly to Cape Town to surprise the 7 interns—in costume.  We...
  • Katie Gannett | November 27th, 2011
    Grassroot Soccer is gearing up to launch an exciting research initiative—a randomized controlled trial (RTC).  For the study, we will compare schools that receive our GRS Generation Skillz curriculum (“intervention” schools) with those that do...
  • Katie Gannett | November 6th, 2011
    Since the holiday camps, we’ve gotten back to running our Skillz 1.1 interventions in schools.  For this intervention cycle, we’re focusing on schools in a community called Deipkloof.  Our site tends to have more trouble running our...
  • Katie Gannett | October 24th, 2011
    During the first week of October, students in Soweto had a week off from school, so we ran Skillz Holiday Camps at two schools (Isu'lihle Primary and Luyolo Primary) in a Sowetan community called Zola.  Holiday camps take place over the course...
  • Katie Gannett | October 11th, 2011
    Outside of work, Benjy and I having an awesome time exploring the area and meeting new people.  Just after arriving in August, we went to two different “braais” (barbecues) on the same day—one with mostly South Africans and the other with...
  • Katie Gannett | October 4th, 2011
    The Skillz Street curriculum integrates several unique elements.  One session is devoted to bringing the female participants to a local community organization.  We took our participants to one of two: Sizanani and the Clinic. ...
  • Katie Gannett | September 25th, 2011
    This month, we have been busy running Skillz Street, a girls-targeted intervention. The program combines Fair Play soccer with activities designed to teach about HIV and encourage assertiveness, efficacy, and relationship-building.  Whereas we...
  • Katie Gannett | September 10th, 2011
    Coach Guru: A Role Model for Quitting Drugs  I may have lost some readers after that last blog post, even though I know that all of you are just as fascinated by monitoring and evaluation as I am…To make the whole idea a little more real, I...
  • Katie Gannett | September 6th, 2011
    Of those organizations using sport to address social issues, Grassroot Soccer arguably uses the most advanced means of monitoring and evaluating its programs, essential for informing the work of GRS and reporting to funders.  As a Monitoring...
  • Katie Gannett | August 27th, 2011
    Ben and I arrived at a busy time for GRS Soweto—for all GRS sites in South Africa.  For the last three years, GRS South Africa has been operating primarily through a large grant provided by USAID, which will be ending in December 2011....
  • Watch this video
    Katie Gannett | August 21st, 2011
    Before going much further, I wanted to give everyone a better sense of Grassroot Soccer (GRS).  The video above was filmed at the GRS site in Lusaka, Zambia.  History: The impetus to create the organization came from Tommy Clark, M...
  • Katie Gannett | August 16th, 2011
    We’ve enjoyed getting situated the last few days, becoming more familiar with the Soweto site and the day-to-day operations.  There are currently 25 “coaches,” local men and women between the ages of about 18 and 25 that deliver the HIV...
  • Katie Gannett | August 11th, 2011
    We have arrived in South Africa!  Ben and I flew in on Monday night and were picked up at the airport by Greg, the site coordinator of GRS in Soweto.  Greg brought us to our new apartment, located in Mondeor (part of Johannesburg South...
  • Katie Gannett | July 19th, 2011
    By Grassroot Soccer Web on June 24, 2011 June 23, Cape Town, South Africa - Grassroot Soccer staff, coaches, and participants had the honor of meeting First Lady Michelle Obama along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu during her visit to South...
  • Katie Gannett | July 8th, 2011
    Hello everyone! With my graduation from Brown only weeks behind me, I am thrilled to be heading off in early August to South Africa, where I will be interning with Grassroot Soccer for 12 months.  Grassroot Soccer (GRS) uses soccer to deliver...