“Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers. It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and for development”
– Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
Amid the furore of doping scandals, corruption allegations and other misdemeanours it can be easy to forget that sport has an unparalleled international influence and can be a force for great change.
For this reason, in 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Its aim? To celebrate and raise awareness of the contribution sports and physical activities make to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and a peaceful world.
This ethos lies at the heart of Alive and Kicking’s operations. Our footballs are used across the world to promote play and to educate about health.
There is, however, another very important aspect of our work – employment and economic stability. Across three Social Enterprises (Ghana, Kenya and Zambia) more than 155 people are employed by Alive and Kicking. On average, each of these employees supports 5 people.That’s nearly 1,000 individuals whose lives are impacted directly by the employment Alive and Kicking provides.
The significance of this became clear in our 2015 Annual Survey of staff.
We offer long-term, secure work with fair wages. In Kenya and Zambia (our two longest running Social Enterprises) the average length of employment at Alive and Kicking came to 7.4 and 6.2 years respectively. In Zambia only 48% of these employees had ever been in formal employment before (compared to 70% in Kenya and 58% in Ghana) and across the three countries, 87% of staff said their standard of living had improved since joining Alive and Kicking. 91% of employees said they would recommend working for Alive and Kicking to others.
The impact of this stable employment becomes even clearer when considering how our employees use their money – predominantly for medicine (76%) and school fees (51%). Others use their wages to save for the future or to invest in their own businesses. Many use their wages to improve their housing situation. Not only do A+K employees provide balls that impact on children’s live across the world; they also provide for their dependants and improve their situation and stability.
For every Alive and Kicking ball that is donated, bought or kicked in the world today (and there are 750,000 and counting) there are individuals in our Social Enterprises whose lives are directly affected, their living conditions improved and their futures secured. On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, that’s something to celebrate.