Grassroot Soccer trains African soccer stars, coaches, and peer educators in the world’s most HIV-affected countries to deliver an interactive HIV prevention and life skills curriculum to youth.

Programs - Career
Tuck GIVES Internship:

Hector Arguelles Menendez T’11
Villamor Asuncion T’11
Grassroot Soccer
South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Hanover, NH

Founded by former professional soccer players in 2002, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) trains African soccer stars, coaches, teachers, and peer educators in the world’s most HIV-affected countries to deliver an interactive HIV prevention and life skills curriculum to youth. Translating research into action and leveraging the excitement around the 2010 World Cup, GRS attracts and engages young people through schools, community outreach, TV and print media. GRS has educated more than 350,000 kids via its ‘Skillz’ curriculum, and is a leader in the “sport for development” movement.

Villamor and Hector worked together to evaluate GRS fundraising initiatives in the U.S, for example Lose the Shoes tournaments and the NYC Marathon campaigns. Lose the Shoes is a 3v3 soccer tournament held in high school and colleges. The NYC Marathon will have forty runners fundraising for GRS. Additionally Villamor worked on brand strategy for GRS, identifying the current associations involved with GRS and formulating strategies for how to use this data to better position the organization with U.S. donors. He writes, “GRS is a remarkable organization. It was an honor to be able to bring many of the lessons and skills I developed in the Tuck core curriculum to bear on some of the challenges that GRS faces and to add real value to the organization. More personally, I discovered how important it is for me to feel like I am making a difference in the world every day I’m at work. I hope to carry this realization with me throughout second year recruiting and beyond.”

Hector travelled through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia visiting GRS interventions in the field and meeting with most of its staff in those countries. As a result he came up with a number of recommendations to improve the organization. Villamor and Hector helped to start implementing those recommendations in the last weeks of the internship. Hector said, “Being able to see first-hand the amazing work of GRS in the field has been an invaluable experience. The organization is making a difference in places severely hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Visiting the townships and listening to the testimonies of the kids is humbling and inspiring at the same time. I am proud to have had the chance to help the organization over the summer and I look forward to staying engaged with GRS in one way or another.”