Have you ever thought of a place where children can play sports with balls engraved with positive messages and get health education at the same time? Your one stop shop for this, ALIVE AND KICKING BALLS, under CEO GLENN CUMMINGS is an African social enterprise to create employment while improving African communities simultaneously.
They achieve their purpose in 3 steps.
First, Alive and Kicking balls are hand-stitched in areas of high unemployment in Africa such as Nairobi, Lusaka and Accra. Since they started in 2004, their production keeps 140 people in these countries under full time work. Additionally, each of their staff supports an average of six people with their wage directly supporting a community of over 800 people.
More than half of the people who stitch their balls have never been in formal employment before, which implies that Alive and Kicking Balls is directly eradicating unemployment.
Each of their balls can be customized with logos and messages and are individually screen printed by hand. It allows them to promote a range of causes, from peace and reconciliation to wildlife conservation. They have created balls for organizations such as UNICEF, the Red Cross, Arsenal and DHL. They sell the rest through African retailers, including Nakumatt, Shoprite and Game.The second step is uplifting the faces of the communities they exist in through sports. Children have a right to play and have fun but being able to fully realise that right involves having access to basic sporting equipment. They have therefore made over 700,000 sports balls since 2004, and each one has given someone, somewhere the chance to play. Around 20% of them, over 120,000, have been donated to schools and community projects that would otherwise be unable to afford them.
Lastly, they educate these communities about health. They believe that football is an ideal way to engage young people and give them the means to live healthy and productive lives. They therefore use football to educate young people about their health by training local coaches to deliver health educative training drills to their teams. They are working with the harsh reality that 2.75 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya and Zambia and 3.5 million people contract malaria every year in Ghana.
Working with specialist health partners like Tackle Africa, they have trained over 300 community coaches since 2012. By training local community leaders to deliver health messages themselves, they aim to ensure that their work has an ongoing impact. They have also run a range of other innovative health and social inclusion projects, including football for the visually impaired, staff health workshops, and entrepreneurship schemes.
Visit their website to learn how you can donate.