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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supports Grassroot Soccer in its work to foster mental well-being among adolescents in Kenya and beyond through sport-based mental health interventions.

In the face of a global rise in stress, anxiety, and depression,  a situation particularly acute in parts of Africa, Grassroot Soccer’s MindSKILLZ curriculum stands as the cornerstone of its adolescent mental health strategy across Africa. Recognizing the significance of community-based solutions in low-resource settings and guided by research indicating the positive impact of sports on adolescent mental health, Grassroot Soccer is leading the charge in mental health promotion, prevention, and informal care services.

Developed following the success of its Mindset program in Scotland, MindSKILLZ seeks to comprehensively address adolescent mental well-being. This 12-session curriculum, tailored for adolescents aged 10-19, is designed to reinforce coping skills and strengths, empowering participants to effectively manage life’s stresses. It also aims to foster a culture of positive mental well-being behavior, creating an enabling environment for adolescents to thrive.

Through the guidance of trained young adult mentors known as “Coaches,” MindSKILLZ sessions cover essential topics including emotional expression, coping strategies, stigma reduction, and gender considerations in mental health. The program also endeavors to enhance adolescents’ access to youth-friendly health and social services, thereby bridging gaps in mental health care provision. Additionally, MindSKILLZ focuses on building capacity across Grassroot Soccer’s partner network to seamlessly integrate mental health principles into existing programming in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. This strategic approach ensures the sustainability and scalability of mental health initiatives beyond the project’s duration.

With support from SNF, Grassroot Soccer and its partners aim to engage more than four thousand adolescents ages 10-14 and 30 Coaches ages 19-35 in Kenya, addressing a critical gap in mental health support for adolescents in the region. The initiative is implemented in collaboration with LVCT Health and the Governments of Mombasa and Nairobi Counties. 

By harnessing the power of sport and community engagement, the MindSKILLZ program is helping young people lay a foundation for a healthier, more resilient future and builds upon SNF’s commitment to addressing global health challenges and advancing mental health initiatives worldwide.