Children and Youth Rights in Practice: Youth Development through Football (YDF)

Project description

YDF started in 2007 as legacy of the 2006 Football World Cup™ in Germany. It formed an important part of the South African-German cooperation in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2010TM. YDF is implemented by GIZ in partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). It is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union.

The project’s primary objective is to establish and support youth-development initiatives that combine football training with non-formal education measures within schools and community sport. From 2007 to 2012 the project was implemented in South Africa and nine other African countries. In June 2012 YDF entered into a period of consolidation to ensure the sustainability and strengthen the quality of the YDF approach in South Africa. The project cooperates with governmental and non-governmental institutions that already use football for youth development, and strengthens their capacities further.

The project develops and improves methods to teach life skills, contribute to positive behavioral change and integrate socially disadvantaged youths in their communities by using football as a catalyst. The YDF Toolkit, developed by the project, consists of the basic YDF Manual for Coaches and five short modules on HIV Prevention, Violence Prevention, Gender Awareness, Disability Inclusion and Environmental Awareness. All manuals illustrate how football exercises can be used to help youths acquire important life skills and support the coach, teacher or social worker in his or her function as a role model.

With the help of these manuals, young coaches are trained in such a way, that they are able to transfer the concepts of the project even to remote areas of South Africa. Moreover it strengthens the capacities of governmental and non-governmental organisations that already use football for youth development and supports their networking, such as the Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN).

Target group

Children of school-going age as well as youth up to 25 years of age. Goals and challenges It has successfully completed two development partnerships with VW South Africa and with NIKE South Africa.

The project’s progress is regularly monitored by the University of Johannesburg. The results serve to improve the approach continuously. To date, the project has directly reached more than 62,000 young people in South Africa and a further 55,000 in nine other African countries:

  • Almost 40% of them are girls;
  • A third lives in rural areas;
  • 40 percent display a significant decrease in antisocial behavior in terms of demonstrating less violent, unethical and discriminatory behavior;
  • 74 percent increased their self-confidence;
  • 81 percent see themselves as role models.

In their communities, these young people function as important disseminators of information and as messengers for the YDF project.

YDF trained 162 instructors who in turn train coaches in the YDF Toolkit. Since 2010 more than 1 600 coaches from 375 organisations have been trained in using football as tool for youth development and social change.

Current focus and activities

In the first project phase (2007-2012) YDF developed its methods, capacitated coaches to use these methods and promoted the integration of YDF into existing structures and programs of government institutions as well as non-governmental organisations.

In its final phase (2012-2014) YDF aims at ensuring the sustainability of the project’s legacy as well as assuring the quality of implementation by organizations and coaches. To this end, the project is capacitating relevant stakeholders to integrate elements of the YDF approach. These include the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) and its provincial structures, the GIZ project Violence and Crime Prevention (VCP), the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) Southern Africa.

Moreover the YDF Toolkit is currently undergoing an accreditation process and will subsequently be recognized as official education and training material by the relevant institutions in South Africa.

Link to children and youth rights

Although Article 17 on access to information aims at the role of mass media, YDF contributes towards children’s access to information relevant to their health and well-being. YDF Coaches act as multipliers of knowledge relevant to the social well-being as well as physical and mental health of children.

Acknowledging the context of formal education systems in developing countries, YDF provides additional non-formal education tools to contribute to the purposes of education highlighted in Article 29. The YDF approach contributes to the development of children’s personality, talents and abilities within the spirit of mutual respect and tolerance, gender equality, peaceful behavior and protection of the environment. The YDF Toolkit encourages children to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.

Last but not least, YDF promotes children’s Right to engage in play and recreational activities (Article 31) under guidance of skilled and qualified coaches and role models.

For more information on the project:

Davide Fiedler
Technical Advisor „Youth Development through Football”
Tel.: +27 12 4235933

GIZ - Sektorprogramm „Menschenrechte einschließlich Kinder- und Jugendrechte umsetzen in der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit“

Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 36 + 40

53113 Bonn

Telefon +49 228 4460-3797