Friday, September 3, 2010

Using football for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa: CSI report

Before I started working with Grassroot Soccer through the Lose The Shoes Soccer tournament back 2 Springs ago (April 2009), I wasn’t aware of very many programs that were using football as a means to engage kids in disease prevention interventions like what GRS does. I was aware of football teams and personalities being heavily involved in charities, but I never saw the game being used in an actual curriculum, such as in Skillz. It turns out that this field is getting bigger and bigger, the best part being that research is proving that it works!
According to streetfootballworld, ‘A new study by Coxswain Social Investment, entitled “Using Football for HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa”, has found that football-based programmes are uniquely successful in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.’ This is a huge revelation for an organization like Grassroot Soccer and others scattered around the continent of Africa doing similar work. Not that evidence hasn’t already justified the work GRS does, it is just especially heartening to see that there is further evidence that these programs are making an impact. The ultimate test will of course be the passage of time.
I look forward to seeing a future where kids who have been through these programs can stand up and say how important these intervention have been in their lives as HIV infection rates drop in generations to come.
The study was done in the months running up to the FIFA World Cup, and it features many organizations that are part of the streetfootballworld network. According to streetfootballworld: “The study concludes that football programmes can lead to profound behavior change, a huge aspect of HIV and AIDS prevention. It also highlights that football programmes are successful with hard-to-reach audiences, at tackling sensitive issues within the safety of the team and, because of its appeal to young audiences, football can reach those most at risk. While it is not a UNAIDS study, experts from UNAIDS contributed their time, experience, and resources to the Coxswain Social Investment study. It is a legacy product of the Football for an HIV-Free Generation Initiative.”
I was very excited when I first discovered this report and to see evidence based backing for such an important cause is encouraging to the people dedicationg so much of their lives to make a real change for the future.
I urge you to check out the report here, and leave feedback on in the comments section below, I would love to hear your thoughts. I will leave my own impressions below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Some of the organizations mentioned in the report:

Love life - South Africa's national HIV prevention initiative for young people.
Kicking Aids Out - global network with network organizations, partners and associates operating in many sub-Saharan African countries.
Whizzkids United - an organization using football as a means to teach boys and girls essential life skills designed to enable healthy behavioral change.

Other organizations using football to promote positive social change:

Play 31 brings together people who have been split by armed conflict.
Alive and Kicking manufactures sports balls to provide balls for children, create jobs for adults and promote health education through sport.
Foot Solidaire seeks out and assists abandoned young soccer players around Europe whose dreams have been placed in the hands of opportunistic agents.
Coaches Across Continents helps young people around the world learn practical coaching and leadership skills that benefit their local communities.

1 comment:

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