Global Reach: Grantee Partners

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United Through Sport


The education system in South Africa is failing. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report (2016), the quality of the South African Education system is ranked 137th among 139 nations, with the quality of its maths and science education ranked 139. The most recent round (2007) of the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (Grade Six numeracy and literacy), found that 27% of South African Grade Six learners were illiterate since they could not read and understand a short and simple text (with significant variance between provinces: Limpopo 49% illiterate; Western Cape 5%). According to Nicholas Spaull, an education expert whose blog on education is widely read and discussed in South Africa, the data reveals that many South African mathematics teachers have below-basic levels of content knowledge with high proportions of teachers being unable to answer questions aimed at their pupils. Infrastructure and socioeconomic indicators in the Eastern Cape lag behind other areas of South Africa. Its population suffers from high unemployment, badly equipped schools and a poor healthcare system. In 2015, the Eastern Cape had the lowest pass rate (56.8 %) of the country’s nine provinces.


United Through Sport is a South African-based NGO focused on working with youth from disadvantaged backgrounds using the power of sport to improve education, raise health awareness and build life skills. In the past few years, affiliate organisations using UTS’ methodology were founded in Argentina, the Caribbean and Thailand. UTS provides underserved young people with increased educational opportunities, using a tiered sport-for-development programme to 1) improve emotional well-being and increase life skills (teamwork, leadership, decision-making and communication); 2) discuss critical issues such as HIV/AIDS awareness and gender equality in a fun and interactive manner on the sports field; and 3) equip at-risk youth in Port Elizabeth with the knowledge and skills to continue schooling, succeed in secondary school and go on to tertiary education or secure employment. UTS is one of few sports-focused co-ed organizations in South Africa that successfully engage girls and young women, maintaining a 50:50 gender split.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s 5th grant to United Through Sport will provide academic support and health and life skills training to 280 youth to prepare them to successfully transition to secondary school, and partial support for sports coaching and life skills training for 8000 youth and staff trainings to strengthen their acumen on youth programming, management, and monitoring and evaluation processes.

United Through Sports was formerly known as Umzingisi.

You can support our work with United Through Sport and our other grantee partners.

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.