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Kick4Life: 10 years of youth development in Lesotho


Kick4Life: 10 years of youth development in Lesotho

"It all began with a crazy idea to dribble a football for 250 miles across Africa in ten days". Kick4Life co-founder and chief executive Steve Fleming reflects on the last decade as the organisation celebrates its 10 year anniversary.

Since 2005 Kick4Life has reached more than 250,000 children and young people in Lesotho, through a wide range of activities from health education and HIV testing to literacy, mentoring and support towards long-term employment. On 15 October, it is hosting an event to celebrate the occasion of the organisation's 10 year anniversary. caught up with Steve Fleming, who shared his thoughts on Kick4Life's achievements.

sportanddev: How did it all start?
Steve: It all began with a crazy idea to dribble a football for 250 miles across Africa in ten days. My brother Pete and I intended it to be a one-off fundraiser, but we saw during the challenge, the ability of football and sport to engage and communicate with young people. We knew then it was just the start of a bigger journey, and Kick4Life was born. With very little sport and fevelopment (S&D) activity in the country, and with huge need for youth development provision, we launched in the beautiful mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

sportanddev: What has Kick4Life’s biggest achievement been?
Steve: We have evolved constantly but throughout the process we have been able to achieve a balance between innovation and strategic focus. We initially worked exclusively on health, education and HIV testing and this led organically to holistic care and support and the subsequent development of social enterprises, including a restaurant and hotel, to provide training and employment opportunities, as well as aiding organisational sustainability. The growth has been diverse but has always occurred within the parameters of our mission to transform the lives of vulnerable youth in Lesotho. We’ve had opportunities to set up projects in other countries, but we’ve decided to focus on improving what we do in Lesotho and create new ways of increasing impact.

sportanddev: What are your plans for the coming years – where will Kick4Life be in 10 years’ time?
Steve: Lesotho has the world’s second highest HIV prevalence (23.2%) and over 130,000 children have been orphaned. This has created huge social challenges, but within this most vulnerable group we believe is the potential to shape a brighter future. Over the next decade we plan to expand the Kick4Life Academy to support more youth towards sustainable livelihoods with links to employment and further education and start-up grants for young entrepreneurs. As the world’s first football club exclusively dedicated to social change we also aim to develop Kick4Life F.C. as a leading club in Africa, and to leverage this success to extend social impact and show that S&D can be moved from the fringes to the heart of the sports industry.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Paul Hunt


Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 01:00