Having finished running interventions during the
first school term (Jan-March), our site is facing a new set of challenges for
Term 2. Our coaches typically implement
our core curricula during school hours—usually during the Life Orientation
period. We have found during school
recruitment this term that primary schools are pushing back, requiring us to
instead run our Skillz 1.1 programs after school.
This change has a range of ramifications for our
programs. First, it limits the number of
classes our coaches can work in, since they are bound to a specific time
slot. In turn, we may have a harder time
reaching our target number of graduates for the year. Second, the change negatively affects
coaches’ stipends. Our coaches are
volunteers, but receive a small stipend for their work based on a
half-day/full-day plan. With the new
change, coaches will only be able to work half-days and therefore will be paid
less. Though stipends are small, many
coaches rely on the money to provide for themselves and families. Finally, working after school causes
scheduling issues. In many cases, other
organizations are trying to work with the same grades to deliver their
programs. Additionally, internally,
running Skillz 1.1 after school conflicts with our Skillz Street program, which
has to take place after school since it is a 2 hr program. We will be starting Skillz Street
interventions in the middle of the term (after delivering a training during the
week of May 7th), at which point our female coaches will no longer
be available to run Skillz 1.1.
We are coming up with new ideas to address these
challenges. For one, we have scheduled
programs in some cases every day after school.
Since our Skillz 1.1 curriculum is 10 sessions long, this means that in
theory coaches can finish an intervention in 2 weeks. We are not fully aware of the effect of this
change on the degree to which participants retain the information they are
learning. This will have to be a
test-run. The plan is to recruit new
schools during the middle of the term for coaches to run another round of
interventions before the end of June.
Since the female coaches will start running Skillz Street, we may need
to pair male coaches with each other to run the new round of interventions
(usually coaching pairs include one male and one female).
The Department of Education (DoE) has played a major
role in the schools’ decisions to move us to the after-school time slot. The
DoE has started to require all NGOs and other organizations to implement
programs after school—across South Africa.
Nevertheless, Grassroot Soccer has developed a strong relationship with
the DoE. We are currently applying for a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the DoE, which would basically clarify
our partnership. This MoU could allow us
to move back into school hours. We’ll
see how things progress!