The South African Football Association’s (Safa’s) Development Agency (SDA) is urging corporates to partner and invest in its football-based Safe-Hub programme, which aims to encourage youth to engage in life skills programmes through football.
The Safe-Hub programme – modelled on nongovernment organisation Amandla EduFootball’s Safe-Hub in Cape Town – hopes to repeat the original programme’s feat of reducing crime-related incidents by 44% and improving learners’ math and English pass rates by 49%.
There are Safe-Hubs operating in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu, in the Western Cape, and one funded by entertainment group Tsogo Sun, in Diepsloot, in Gauteng.
The SDA and Amandla also hope to roll out 100 Safe-Hubs throughout the country by 2030 – one in each district and more than one in densely populated areas.
SDA CEO Robin Petersen says that the Safe-Hubs provide a comprehensive, integrated set of youth development services, using football as the key driver of engagement and retention.
Each centre is a multipurpose community hub where people can access a range of education, health and enterprise development services, while acting as a viable and attractive alternative for young people to become involved in positive activities.
As part of the Safe-Hub programme, participants play five-aside football and are also assessed when they participate in a fair play football league, where they learn to lose and win and control aggression.
“We partnered with Amandla EduFootball to develop more Safe-Hubs, which include the infrastructure built, an artificial pitch, floodlights and a 600 m2 youth centre. The programme has five-a-side football at its core, and we hope to have 2 000 kids participating twice a week at each site,” says Petersen.
A Safe-Hub is being constructed in Alexandra, in Gauteng, and is being funded by retail brand Totalsports.
The SDA will also take over the Nike Football Training Centre, in Soweto, and convert it into a Safe-Hub and, as the year progresses, further sites will open in Jabulani and Tembisa, in Gauteng; in Klerksdorp, in the North West; in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, and in Gansbaai, in the Western Cape, in partnership with the Football Foundation.The
SDA is dependent on corporates to help roll out the projects. Each Safe-Hub costs R3.5-million a year to run and R16-million is needed for its infrastructure. The SDA has structured its build programme and programme funding to allow companies to become involved for as little as R60 000.
“We tie their funding into points on their scorecard, such as socioeconomic development, enterprise development and supply development ,because we are building small businesses within the Safe-Hub,” explained Petersen.
The SDA and Amandla are also creating a social impact fund to fund the Safe-Hubs. This is a registered financial services product and will be used to guarantee a social impact investor’s capital back over a ten-year period.
The partnership is also piloting Version 2 of the Safe-Hub programme, which involves the construction of a 600 m2 youth facility, an information-technology-friendly space, mentors to guide participants in areas of employment and education, as well as an enterprise development incubation centre.
The outcomes of Version 2 will be to assist 20 learners in finding employment and the creation of three businesses every year, so that the SDA expands the employment creation aspect of the Safe-Hub.