JA Africa

In brief

The project targets young football players from difficult, socially marginalised backgrounds. These young players typically began playing football on the city streets using handmade balls and makeshift goalposts. They turned to sport because of the promise it holds to remove them from their difficult circumstances, especially in situations where formal education is not a viable alternative. JA Africa combines the aspiration for sport with the life skills necessary for success.

The project will provide and equip the beneficiaries with knowledge and tools to succeed, reinforce an environment that allows them to thrive and enhance their resilience by building skills that are transferable between the playing field and other life circumstances, such as discipline, collaboration, communication and hard work.

Problem to be tackled

Lack of experiential trainings in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and life skills for young communities in Africa.

Local partner

In Zambia, JA Africa will partner with the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC), which was established to provide sport and community development for young people and under-served segments of the population from surrounding communities in Lusaka. JA Africa will also leverage a previous partnership with the Barclays Junior league to hold training sessions for the athletes.

In Zimbabwe, JA Africa will partner with schools, which feed into the academies, especially those registered under the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) – a parasternal which regulates and promote the development of sport and recreation in the country. JA Africa will also work with the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Junior League as well as the Premier Soccer League Clubs, all of which also have junior structures.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) is the selected partner to reach the target group in South Africa. The association has a junior league for youth who have taken to football as a profession. Notable among them is the Sasol League which is South Africa’s premier women’s football league with 144 teams and over 3’600 players who have an opportunity to participate in regular competitive football throughout the year. Alternatively, JA Africa will also partner with Grassroot Soccer in South Africa, an organisation that leverages the power of football to help young people overcome challenges, live healthier, more productive lives and be agents for change in their communities.


The majority of the beneficiaries come from low-income and underserved backgrounds. These are youth who live in communities classified as deprived based on demographic characteristics or as defined in national census statistics.

The programme targets youth from urban and peri-urban slum communities, aged 11 to 25, 50% girls, 50% boys, including children with special needs.

SOL’s contribution

With support of The SOL Foundation JA Africa will be able to pilot their programme, that combines the aspiration for sport with the life skills, in three new countries after it has been implemented successfully in Kenya over the last three years; namely in Johannesburg in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia and Harare in Zimbabwe.

Project partner

JA (Junior Achievement) Africa unlocks the economic potential of African youth by educating them in entrepreneurial skills, work readiness and financial literacy.  JA Africa inspires Africa’s youth to start their own businesses, gives them the skills to succeed in the global job market and provides them with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions as adults.