In Africa, India & the Caribbean, organizations use basketball for development and peace

04/16/2017 01:09 pm ET Updated Apr 16, 2017

As part of a comprehensive youth development strategy, from 1998 to 2010 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) facilitated the Sports Philanthropy Project. Through the project, RWJF worked with various foundations established by professional sports teams, helping them develop their philanthropic skills and become more professional in their approach to grant-making.

The project enabled RWJF to leverage the cachet of professional athletes and teams to further its own health and health care goals. 

"The optimistic vision of the Sports Philanthropy Project is that sports teams in the United States can become engines of healthy physical activity, sportsmanship, and good citizenship. It is a vision worth pursuing," author Digby Diehl wrote in Chapter Ten of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Anthology: To Improve Health and Health Care, Volume XI.

Several organizations played key roles in executing the Sports Philanthropy Project, often plugging along to make ends meet like many small and medium-sized businesses. However, due to the growing social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and cause marketing opportunities, private companies and nonprofit organizations are aggressively filling voids and contributing to the global philanthropic and sports ecosystem.

In Africa, India and throughout the Caribbean, basketball is a popular tool used to educate individuals, empower entire communities, and offer peaceful and engaging programming where conflict may exist. The following is a list of not-for-profit, and for-profit, organizations doing noteworthy work throughout the continent of Africa, India and/or the Caribbean. With proven track records of impactful work, these organizations are world-class models and leaders of using sport for social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and cause marketing. 

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African Basketball Organizaion (ABO)

Location: Africa

Leadership: Eyo Effiong, President; Dr. Hokehe Effiong, Executive Director at African Medical Aid - a ABO medical initiative; Steven Czyrny, Director of Marketing

Organization Overview: African Basketball (ABO) was founded in 2005 by Eyo Effiong, a former Nigerian National Team and Winthrop University Men’s Basketball standout. In the summer of 2000, Effiong represented Winthrop University at the 2000 NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, and there he was introduced to leadership education, initiatives, and programs. Effiong continues to exhibit exceptional leadership in his role as President of ABO, and he organizes leadership and educational programs in Africa. Its mission is to promote scholastic excellence, HIV/AIDS Awareness, leadership education, youth and social development through basketball development programs in African countries. ABO uses the co-ed basketball camps and coaches’ clinics as a tool to: (1) Motivate participants to attend, stay in school, and further their education after completion of their primary education. (2) Promote gender equality, and empower women by the inclusion of females from the communities at every ABO Leadership & Basketball Camp. (3) Capacity development, and Sports-Based Youth Development programs in Africa, and the United States.

African Basketball (ABO) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt USA-based, non-Profit organization dedicated to the development of Africa
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African Basketball (ABO) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt USA-based, non-Profit organization dedicated to the development of Africa through Sports.

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Basketball Academy of Excellence (B.A.E.)

Location: Zambia

Leadership: Jamal Khalil Atkins, Founder and Director of Training & Coaching

Organization Overview: The Basketball Academy of Excellence’s goal is to develop the participants into the best basketball players they can be by using the same intense, progressive techniques taught at the high school and collegiate levels. The program is an individual, small group, or team training curriculum based on the skill set(s) and needs of the participants. The goals of this program are to develop individual basketball skills, confidence, and overall understanding of the game. Each player or group receives a specifically designed program developed by Coach Atkins and the B.A.E. team, based on his/her/their abilities, desires, and experience. The academy is prepared to cover every aspect of the game and will make sure it is worth client’s time and financial investment.

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Beyond Sport Integrated (BSI)

Location:

Zambia Website | Twitter | Facebook

Leadership: Francis Malundu Nakonje, Founder and Director; Eric Saperstein, International Marketing & Communications Director; Natasha Mumbi Nkonde, International Management Advisor

Organization Overview: Beyond Sport Integrated is a Zambian based sport for development organization involved in health, education and life skills education for the children and youth of Monze in the southern province of Zambia. BSI uses sport as an effective tool for communication, mobilization and social integration targeting children and youth aged between 10 – 18 years. The organization’s vision is to promote the healthy development of Zambian children, youth and communities by using sport as a powerful tool to fight HIV/AIDS, discrimination and social injustices. A strong emphasis is placed on preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS among children and young people by engaging them in sports and physical activities integrated with health, education, and life skills.

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Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy - Hoops Creating Hope

Location: Chennai, India

Leadership: Shaun Jayachandran, Founder

Organization Overview: Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to impacting the education rates of marginalized communities in India through the use of basketball as a vehicle of change. The organization’s mission is to impact the low education and graduation rates in India through the use of basketball as a vehicle of change by imparting the values of leadership, gender equity, character, teamwork, and communication. “Crossover has gone from 45 students in the summer of 2012 at St. Patrick’s School in Chennai to nearly 500 students each summer (with an ever increasing wait-list) on the campus of American International School – Chennai AND requests from over a dozen cities and multiple countries to expand. That’s a lot of theoretical apples going on teachers desks!" - Shaun Jayachandran, Founder

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HOOPS 4 HOPE (H4H)

Location: South Africa, Zimbabwe

Leadership: Mark Crandall, H4H Founder and Executive Director; Kita ‘Thierry’ Matungulu Founding Board of Director in South Africa; Ngoni Partson Mukukula, Director Hoops 4 Hope Zimbabwe

Organization Overview: HOOPS 4 HOPE is a global not-for-profit organization that has supported youth development throughout southern Africa since 1995 by: Providing more than 10,000 school-age boys and girls every year with our high quality organized Basketball and Soccer Programs and Skills 4 Life for free; Using sport as our vehicle, peer education, innovative curriculum, exchange, education and opportunity are catalysts for social and personal change; and Partnering with more than 150 schools, children’s shelters, and community groups in Zimbabwe and South Africa to encourage more children to get off the streets and participate.

HOOPS 4 HOPE with NBA players at the 2007 NBA Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp.
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HOOPS 4 HOPE with NBA players at the 2007 NBA Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp.

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Hoops Care International (HCI)

Location: Cape Coast, Ghana

Leadership: Claudius Thompson, Founder

Organization Overview: The mission of Hoops Care International is to provide opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, healthy lifestyle, work ethic, commitment, honesty and integrity through sport. The organization believes that basketball teaches life lessons that can help people of all ages with success on and off the court. HCI believes in the effectiveness of positive role models, and is active in the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, drugs and alcohol abuse. Working hard towards goals as a team is an experience that HCI beneficiaries will carry with them for the rest of their lives. HCI activities are also a platform to address social issues such as religious tolerance, behavior and environment. Besides using basketball as a medium, HCI also seeks to improve the level on which the sport is played throughout the world by detecting and developing talent and continuously train basketball coaches and sports masters. In its vision, HCI foresees causing a major effect in the lives of many children worldwide. By effecting the youth HCI will contribute in maximizing their potential to help them integrate and perform effectively in the society. HCI that enthusiastic spirit in the basketball game will get attention and appreciation of children all around the globe. This will eventually lift the sport to a higher level.

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Miles and Associates International (MAI)

Location: South Africa. Kenya

Leadership: Michael Finley, Founder and Managing Director

Organization Overview: Established in 1995, Miles and Associates International is a sports management consultancy, focused on the development of the industry of basketball on the African continent. We have over 15 years of experience in successfully advancing sport and enriching the lives of African youth by providing professional services in: Governance, Leadership, Strategic Planning, and Integrated Marketing Solutions. We design, manage and implement sports and youth development programs for governments, basketball federations, NGO’s, and corporate partners across Africa. MAI was originally founded as a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting youth development in disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa. Since its founding, MAI has positively affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of African youth, while opening offices and implementing programmes in many African countries. In 2007, MAI launched a formal partnership with the African Youth Development Fund (AYDF), a South Africa based NGO specializing in the design and implementation of life skills programmes for youth. As a result of this partnership, AYDF now specializes in managing and implementing our youth development initiatives, which enables MAI to strengthen service delivery capabilities to our corporate and government clientele.

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Move Forward Foundation 

Location: Haiti, Suriname

Leadership: Nina Schmid, Founder and Director; Maxi Hill, Board President 

Organization Overview: In January 2014 the Move Forward dance- and basketball program was launched in Kenscoff, a community on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Move Forward is a Dutch non-profit organization with an intensive dance, basketball and rap program to empower teenagers growing up under tough conditions. Thanks to the crowd-funding campaign and a staff who was willing to work on a voluntary base, the Move Forward Foundation was able to set up its first program. Move Forward partnered with the Haitian organization AJVPH and had the support of the staff of Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO). The kick-off program ran 10 days from January 10th – 19th and was facilitated at EFACAP, a local public school. 100 Teenagers were recruited from three public schools by a local partner organization. The train-the-trainer sessions took place during the weekend of January 6th-9th, 2014. The Move Forward project consisted of six international members, five local coaches, 25 local volunteers and one international filmmaker. 

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PeacePlayers International (PPI)

Location: South Africa

Leadership: Brendan Tuohey, Co-Founder and Executive Director; Nkosinathi Zondi, PPI South Africa Board Chair; Sbahle Mkhize, PPI South Africa Marketing and Fundraising Manager

Organization Overview: PeacePlayers International was founded in 2001 on the premise that “children who play together can learn to live together.” Since inception, PPI has reached more than 65,000 participants and trained more than 1,100 youth leaders. Through a groundbreaking peace-building and leadership development curriculum, PPI uses basketball to bring children together and teach them proven tactics for improving their communities. PeacePlayers International currently operates year-round programs in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel and the West Bank, and Cyprus. In South Africa, where half the population is under 25, disenfranchised youth are denied the skills needed for healthy constructive adult lives and are at high risk for dangerous activities.

PPI – South Africa helps the young people of KwaZulu-Natal carve out a safe and successful path in a society burdened by the impact of HIV/AIDS, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, and strong cultural divides. PPI – South Africa predominantly engages youth from disadvantaged communities, most of whom would not have the financial ability to participate in sports clubs without the benefit of PPI. PPI’s Sports and Peace Innovation Network shares PPI’s institutional knowledge with others seeking to harness the power of sport for youth civic engagement, leadership development and conflict transformation, making social impact accessible to youth sport practitioners around the world. Thanks to institutional partners like Nike and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, PPI – SPIN has been able to partner with organizations in 20 countries spread over five continents, from inner-city Chicago to Sana’a, Yemen, helping design projects, develop curricula, train implementing staff and more.

Steve Kerr, then General Manager for the Phoenix Suns (current Golden State Warriors Head Coach), talks to PeacePlayers Inter
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Steve Kerr, then General Manager for the Phoenix Suns (current Golden State Warriors Head Coach), talks to PeacePlayers International participants in South Africa in 2005.

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Promo Jeune Basket (PJB)

Location: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Leadership: Sakinah Musafiri, Coordinator

Organization Overview: Promo Jeune Basket is a home-grown organization that was founded in 2006. A group of young professionals in the town of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were looking for a way to harness the dynamic power of sports to change lives and a society; PJB was their answer. Goma, DRC is in a region that has been at the heart of a decades long war, and the founders believed that basketball could be used as a tool to develop youth and communities into the future of a better nation. By empowering young athletes to develop essential life-skills, take their education seriously and become active members in their communities, PJB has become a force of great change within the region and country. From its humble beginnings of three coaches and a handful of young basketball players, PJB has grown into a full-time basketball academy that serves over 1000 youth throughout the year.

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Real Youth International - Yonwabani Social Basketball

Location: South Africa

Leadership: Dumisani Wambi, Founder

Organization Overview: Real Youth International aims to educate, inspire, support and empower youth in deprived communities with unlimited access to opportunities and resources alike. RYI employees concepts that are delivered through education, sports, arts and fun activities. Its models are structured to endorse practical life skills and self-reliant development. By running sports clubs and offering other uplifting courses in Khayelitsha and townships surrounding Cape Town, Real Youth International seeks to make the youth understand that there is something more than crime and unemployment. "Our project offers recreation development models and strategies for township communities," shared Real Youth International founder, Dumisani Wambi.

Thusong Recreational Hall in Khayelitsha Township is often host to Real Youth International and the Yonwabani Social Basketba
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Thusong Recreational Hall in Khayelitsha Township is often host to Real Youth International and the Yonwabani Social Basketball collective.

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Sacred Sports Foundation

Location: The Caribbean

Leadership: Nova Alexander, Founding Director

Organization Overview: Sacred Sports Foundation Incorporated, is a not for profit, economically, politically and religiously independent charity. We are dedicated to turning the dreams of Caribbean youth into reality through sport in Saint Lucia, West Indies.  Founded by the late trailblazer former Peterborough, Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town manager, Keith Alexander, the Sacred Sports Foundation uses sport & physical education to work with disadvantaged Caribbean youth. It is an active and vocal supporter of youth development in the region and work through our sports development programmes to champion the rights and values of those most vulnerable in our communities. The Foundation focuses on sports programmes for youth aged 7-23 in several disciplines: football, netball, volleyball, tennis, cricket, basketball, boxing, beach cricket, fast net, beach volleyball and futsol. 

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Shooting Touch - Basketball Health Corps

Location: Rwanda

Leadership: Lindsey Kittredge, Executive Director and Co-Founder; Justin Kittredge, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder; Lisanne Comeau, Rwanda In-Country Program Director

Organization Overview: Shooting Touch is an international sport-for-development organization using the power of basketball to educate and empower at-risk youth and the communities in which they live. The non-profit’s mission is to use the power of basketball to educate and empower young people around the world. With programs that have served over 11,000 youth globally, Shooting Touch employs a dual on/off-court curriculum designed to teach youth the fundamentals of the game, while also providing vital health education for an active lifestyle free from disease today, and the skills and trajectory for success in the future.  Whether the Shooting Touch teams are working in Boston's inner city or the rural highlands of Kayonza, Rwanda, the shared mission is the same - to provide healthier lives for children in need through the sport of basketball.

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Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Project

Location: Senegal  

Leadership: Amadou Fall, Founder and Board of Directors Chairman; Mohamed Niang, SEED Senegal Executive Director

Organization Overview: Sports for Education and Economic Development believes that all youth have the right to a quality education, access to elite sports programs, and the leadership tools to make big dreams come true. The programs are designed to increase school retention and graduation rates, while providing underserved youth new educational and leadership development experiences. SEED seeks to create impact on multiple levels: local, community and country. Currently, the organization serves more than 8,000 students (grades K-College) in Senegal and the United States, and train more than 50 coaches annually in Senegal. 

Launched in 2002, the SEED Academy is the first basketball student-athlete academy in Africa. Up to 40 high potential student-athletes, boys and girls, live, train and work towards achieving their goal of attending university. SEED Rise is an after-school, youth development program for 1,050 boys and girls (grades K-12) in Senegal and The Gambia. Rise offers basketball clinics, academic tutoring, and life skills lessons for youth, while also working with local schools, basketball clubs, and coaches to create infrastructure that systematically aligns with education, leadership and social responsibility. 

Launched in 2014 in partnership with the NBA and USAID, Live, Learn & Play (LLP) is a youth development program dedicated to training coaches, developing sports infrastructure and using basketball to encourage citizenship among Senegalese youth.  The initiative currently works with more than 40 schools and youth basketball clubs in Dakar and Thies, and serve more than 8,000 students, boys and girls. SEED Scholars provides career services and job placement support for SEED graduates around the world. With more than 110 alumni currently working or studying in 16 countries, SEED supports their continued growth and help them think beyond the basketball court.

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Youth Sport Uganda (YSU)

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Leadership: Joshua Opolot, Executive Director; Fred Kayiwa, Programs Director

Organization Overview: Since 2006, Youth Sport Uganda has helped thousands of children from different social, economic and religious backgrounds form friendships and, crucially, learn important health issues including HIV/AIDs awareness. YSU has continued to promote health and education messages to children across the country, turning its simple sports programmes into ‘sport in development’ initiatives. Thus the organization has been able to promote inclusion in sports for girls to help them stay in school by building their pride and athleticism in order that they are better informed to avoid, for example, teen pregnancy. Youth Sport Uganda runs sports programs for boys and girls from impoverished backgrounds, providing stability, opportunity and a chance for youth to excel.

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This article contains information sourced from SportsandSocialChange.org.

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