The SAFA Development Agency (SDA) is teaming up with AMANDLA EduFootball (AMANDLA) to develop and roll out SAFA Safe-Hubs that will promote a comprehensive approach to youth-focused football and social development in South Africa. The SDA, a separate Trust established by SAFA to ensure the implementation of the ten year VISION 2022 Football Development Plan, has embarked on a programme to roll out what Bobby Godsell, Patron of the Agency, has called the “largest and most likely to succeed youth development programme in the country”.
The aim of the SAFA Safe-Hub is to support high impact, proven youth development interventions and talent hubs, through partnerships with local schools, clubs and NGOs, using football as a platform for coaching, training, life skills and mentoring. The programme will strengthen the standard of football in South Africa by encouraging mass participation at grassroots level and providing pathways towards professional development.
SAFA Safe-Hubs will provide a comprehensive, integrated set of youth development services in collaboration with the local community, using football as the key driver of engagement and retention. It is envisioned that each centre acts as a multi-purpose community hub where people can access a range of education, health and enterprise development services, providing a viable and attractive alternative for young people to get involved in positive activities.
AMANDLA is the founder and owner of the international Safe-Hub social franchise model. SDA has obtained and will own the SAFA Safe-Hub Master License rights for South Africa. SDA and AMANDLA have partnered and will build on the successful methodologies from the internationally acclaimed AMANDLA Safe-Hub model, which has established sound models yielding exceptional results for using football as a platform for youth development and positive social intervention. The positive socio-economic impact achieved in a short period by AMANDLA Safe-Hub programmes has been exceptional. Based on the active engagement of 2,000 young people on a weekly basis; it has yielded a 44% reduction in incidents of violent crime within a 600m radius of the centre since 2008; and a 49% increase in educational results among school students in the programme.
Building on the successful AMANDLA Safe-Hub model, and supplemented with insights from a number of other successful programmes, the SDA has embarked on an ambitious programme to set up 400 SAFA Safe-Hubs – one in each LFA and Region in the country. Each SAFA Safe-Hub will target approximately 2,000 young people in youth development programmes, engaging a target of 800,000 young people per year. Operational management of Safe-Hubs will be delivered by experienced Sport for Development practitioners that utilise innovative, scalable and best practice programmes, focused on youth.
The model of replication is that of social franchising, which is an innovative means to utilise the business processes and insights of franchising developed in the private sector over many decades and to apply them in the not-for-profit social outcomes arena.
In addition to life skills, mentoring and educational support, the SAFA Safe-Hubs have the capacity to offer (through partnerships with specialist service providers) additional social services to the targeted communities such as early childhood development, social development support, entrepreneurship training, and access to ICT centres. A key element of the programme will be to create, build and replicate enterprise development models at each of the SAFA Safe-Hubs, creating multiple small enterprises for i.e. coaching, facilities maintenance, food services and ICT centres.
Dr Robin Petersen, SAFA Development Agency CEO, said: “We have an incredibly ambitious plan to build and operate a SAFA Safe-Hub in each one of our 341 Local Football Associations. To do this we need a model that we can replicate, and in the AEF model we know that we have found this. We are excited about this partnership that will change not only football, but also the country.” Florian Zech, AMANDLA EduFootball Founder, said: “Our experience and research tells us – we cannot achieve sustainable impact in marginalised communities without in-depth collaboration.
AMANDLA’s achievements are based on an integrated, cross-sectorial approach that dovetails at a grassroots level. And so, Safe-Hub was created as an independent brand that brings together bestpractise development programmes from government, non-government and corporate sectors, which are held together by robust impact measuring systems. Now, we strive to rally all stakeholders in youth development behind the Safe-Hub brand to bring lasting change to our youth and communities.”