South Africa is faced with the stubborn reality of widespread poverty, unemployment and growing inequality. Youth in particular are affected by increased gang and criminal activity, HIV/AIDS, poor education, unemployment and teenage pregnancy. Ultimately education and employment provides a way to break the cycle of poverty, inequality and crime / anti – social behaviour, and this programme contributes to that agenda.
The Grootbos Green Futures Foundation has since 2003 been providing skills training and community capacitation programmes in the Overberg region. As a result of excellent programme design, it became imperative to replicate these in other areas of the Western Cape where the dire need for sport education and training existed.
The Imizami Yethu township of Hout Bay poses a similar scenario as the rural villages in the Overberg namely over-population, migrant worker influx, lack of job skills-training facilities and a resulting unemployment ratio which escalates into unacceptable social behaviour. In the face of this harsh reality, the Grootbos Foundation initiated the roll out of a youth sport- and coach education programme for Hout Bay, building on existing programmes successfully implemented by the Foundation in 2014 in Hout Bay in partnership with eta, the City of Cape Town and the Hout Bay Sports Council. Imizami Yethu township in Hout Bay urgently requires after-school constructive and character-building activities for children and youth from this marginalised community, thus the Youth Football for Development programme to reach children aged 6-16 and a coach education programme for youths aged 16 -25 aimed at high school students and young adults, will benefit from the generous donation of eight thousand pounds from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office.
Two of the Grootbos Foundation coaches completed Phase 1 – 3 of the Premier Skills programme, an initiative sponsored by Premier League and British Council. Part of the training syllabus of these coaches is to transfer the skills acquired during phase 1 through 3. This is an excellent opportunity for the newly trained coach educators to gain practical on the job experience and to train new candidates.
The role that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office plays in supporting the Grootbos Foundation and the development of previously disadvantaged individuals from South Africa, showcases how the UK can support South African non-profit organisations in social development projects. Our countries have strong ties in tourism and environmental research; the British High Commission’s support and commitment to our research and educational programmes have proved invaluable.