There are a number of “sports for development” organizations working throughout Africa using sports and football as a means to important life skills such as conflict resolution, gender equality, and HIV awareness. The footballs required to run these camps are often expensive – as high as 75USD in land-locked countries — and wear out quickly. When you factor in the rough terrain prevalent throughout Africa, the projected life span of a ball is as little as seven to 90 days. As a result, organizations using football as a core component of their work have a limited number of balls they can purchase each year without becoming dependent on outside donations of footballs.
Catapult teamed up with WorldBall to research and assess locally produced vs. imported footballs available in-country. We contextualized market numbers, outlined customers, and mapped the manufacturing chain of competitors. After ten weeks of interviews and data collection from on-the-ground sports for development organizations, aid organizations, manufacturers, and local entrepreneurs, we generated concepts that highlighted gaps in the market, or opportunities.
We found that hundreds of thousands of footballs are bought and disposed of each year in Africa. And while they’re often used until they’re beyond repair by traditional methods, their abbreviated lifespan means financial hardship and decrease in quality of play and sports for development activity. Our aim moving forward: leverage local ingenuity and the propensity towards re-use to create new job opportunities and decrease the program materials budgets of the growing number of sports for development organizations. As a result, WorldBall will help facilitate new football activities and programs and enhance existing activities and programs.
Several individuals and organizations contributed to the research and data collection behind this program through interviews and sharing their connections. A special thanks to:
Gary Zeiff, dissigno
Joseph Fernandez, Trade Without Borders
Kirk Friedrich, Grassroots Soccer
Edgard Seikaly, UNICEF Supply Division
Joe Speicher, Living Goods
Sam Dargan, Great Lakes Energy
Anna Philips, Girls Kick It
Jeremy Goldberg, Global Youth Partnership for Africa
Alon Knoll, Take 5 Media
Jerome Uwimana, SELF
Halle Butvin, One Mango Tree
Adrian Bradbury, Athletes for Africa and Football for Good