On 22nd September 2009, Vijana Amani Pamoja, VAP conducted a scale up training of trainersâ€™ TOT course at Kiragu social hall.A total of 15 peer educators went through a TOT that emphasised on Skills of using the power of soccer in the fight against HIV.The training also included HIV/AIDS biology and was all about a new revised curriculum dubbedâ€™Skillz curriculumâ€.Skillz curriculum now contains 10 sessions with some new and simple activities that are well tailored made for youth ages 11-20 years. â€œAm proud to attend the TOT as well as adapting the new curriculum. The lessons and activities that I have learnt will go along way towards empowering me and the youth that I will be teaching.â€ Said Edwin Ochieng, VAP peer educator.Skillz participants will be entitled to finish the entire curriculum for them to be graduated with certificates that empower them to become HIV/AIDS ambassadors and teach their peers and families.
Soccer has been like a universal language, simply arriving on any field or any open space with a soccer ball, wins INSTANT friendship. For communicating life changing messages, VAP has been using soccer as the most effective conduit because the sport: attracts youth, provides role models; key for behaviour change and itâ€™s universally understood.
VAP peer educators have so far graduated 4,300 youth from our community centres and schools and are optimistic of reaching out to 7,500 youth by the end of 2010, the year that brings global football attention to South Africa. â€œMy participation in the Skillz program has been of great impact to my life, and the lives of my friends whom I have taught. Now I can make a wise decision about my future life. â€œSaid, 14 years old Winnie Wambui, a program participant from Church Army primary school.
2010 WORLD CUP AND OUR TARGET
As the world is warming up for the biggest football extravanza, World Cup 2010 in South Africa, VAP is appealing to your continuous financial support as they strive to reach their 2010 vision of reaching out to 7,500 youth by the end of 2010.VAP hopes to empower these young people who will also be empowered to conduct peer education activities within their community, reaching out to thousands more through formal and informal educational sessions.
For the second time, world football governing body FIFA through its Corporate Social Responsibility granted Vijana Amani Pamoja, (VAP) with funds to boost its grassrootsoccer project that creates awareness of HIV/AIDS through a soccer themed curriculum. The FIFA funding to VAP came via a strategic alliance geared towards the Millennium Development Goals between streetfooballworld; www.streetfootballworld.org and FIFA.The two have been using football as an instrument for social development for many years in a variety of ways. “We as VAP feel very much honoured and privileged to secure FIFA funds again for the second year running. Through the first funding we were able to reach out to our goals and graduated the targeted number of 2,500 students who were equipped with HIV/AIDS information and were certified as HIV ambassadors. This funding creates more trust and believe from FIFA and other donors whom we appreciate a lot for their continued support. We also believe the power of opinions, suggestions and questions in order to move forward and I take this opportunity to welcome feedback from our extinguished donors.”Said, Nancy Waweru, program officer.
Michael Acton and Christine Illanes are students who traveled throughout Africa and visited a number of GlobalGiving projects. On March 17th they visited "Using the power of soccer to fight HIV/AIDS." When asked what they would tell their friends about this project, they said: “Great: They are making a difference."
We visited Nancy in her office that CASL shares with Best Buddies Kenya. It was a small room that was full of activity. People would call or stop by to see what the next steps were.
That afternoon we went to visit a slum where some of the volunteers visit schools to discuss HIV/AIDS. In one classroom we watched a training session as they reviewed methods by which HIV/AIDS can and cannot be transmitted. They also discussed ways to support those infected by HIV/AIDS. We were a little surprised at the age of the children as they openly discussed topics that would not be mentioned in western classrooms. That's when it hit us that this was not a lesson in HIV/AIDS theory to be known but with consequences hardly faced, but that this was a part of their daily life.
I met Nancy Njeri from the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL), which changed their name from CASL to something in Swahili. While I can’t remember what the new name is, the new acronym is VAP. The original plan was to meet only with VAP, but I discovered that Best Buddies and VAP are run by the same people, so I ended up meeting with both. It was a hectic day, and totally exhausting, but well worth it! While the building that their “office” is in looked really fancy from the outside, the office itself was the size of a closet. They made the most of it, cramming 2 desks with computers and a small refrigerator (for selling drinks to support the project). Nancy, and VAP, loves Global Giving since it was the first to finance their activities and is still their major source of funding.
VAP runs three different programs, whose main goal is to teach kids about HIV/AIDS by using how popular soccer is to create a relationship with the children that they can use to educate them about difficult issues. Later in the week I met a beneficiaries of VAP who was employed, thanks to the work that VAP is doing, by another Global Giving NGO, Alive and Kicking. They’ve also added a girl’s advocacy program called RAMBO, I don’t know if that’s the correct spelling but I prefer it. RAMBO means beautiful girl, which I think is awesome! VAP’s motto is that “Even if you’re not infected, everyone is affected.”
After meeting with Nancy, one of their youth volunteers named Charles came to escort us to one of the field sites. It was my first time riding a matatu, which is kind of like a bus and kind of like a taxi, but also not anything like either. We got off at one of the smaller Nairobi slums, all I remember is trash everywhere, and open sewer drains running through the “streets.” I don’t think that Charles was prepared for the attention that we received, with every kid and some adults shouting “How are you” in English to us. That was all they knew, since any attempt to respond just got blank looks. I’m still curious why just about everyone in Kenya knew that one phrase, it’s not like they could pick it up on TV, maybe it’s said on the radio a lot, I don’t know.
I managed to pick up two followers all my own. The girl couldn’t have been more than 10 and her sister at least half that, but they decided following me was more interesting than going home, so we formed a parade through the slum. I couldn’t help myself from slowing down to make sure that the girls, especially the littlest one, could make the jumps over the open sewage, which was silly since they lived there, so of course she could. The oddest thing was the eldest’s reaction to a motorcycle that came through the slum. It was going very fast, but she was terrified, running from it in genuine fear and hiding. I don’t know if she was afraid of being run over or grabbed, but it was disturbing. When we started walking again, I felt a little hand grab mine, and we stayed that way until we came to a junction that must have led back to her home. I’m sure she had a great time telling her family and friends about the day!
Soon after we reached the school where Charles was going to teach his class on HIV/AIDs, and I sat through the 10 minute class. The class was very adult, with most of the kids parroting some things it was clear that they didn’t understand. Charles said it’s because they will take that information home to their families, as well as hopefully remember it when they are old enough to understand. The school itself was depressing, made of metal sheeting, which meant that the school itself was a kind of oven; I was certainly baking once we went inside. Two of the kids were obviously very bright, checking previous notes and taking new ones. I was sad about what their schooling prospects were, such wasted potential, but I hope that they get lucky and manage to succeed. At least the VAP program will give them a better chance at surviving. It was another exhausting day in Kenya, but well worth the visit and experience.
For the first time in the history of FIFA practitioners and stakeholders from around the world came together to explore the commitment of football to social development and to help determine the way forward for football for hope movement, a movement that uses the power of the game for social change. From grassroot organizations working at community
SCORING TO THE NET OF THE VCT CENTRE
Statistics show that soccer in Kenya is the sport that matters. Every town has a team. Players are heroes and role models. Simply arriving at a dusty field with a soccer ball wins instant friendships. The global soccer community has a responsibility in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We lead this effort, using the power and popularity of the game, to teach girls and boys aged 13-18 years about HIV/AIDS awareness and critical life skills.
KICK N TEST VCT SOCCER TOURNAMENT
On 4th April 2009, Vijana Amani Pamoja - VAP (former CASL) went a notch higher by hosting a Kick N Test VCT soccer tournament. An exciting day of football, voluntary counseling and testing - VCT and grassroot soccer activities. The tournament was organized under the theme of “jijue” (Swahilli language, means ‘Know yourself’). A total of 16 teams both boys and girls of ages 13-18 years from all the walks of Eastlands part of Nairobi converged at Bahati Community centre in readiness to participate in this unique 7-a-side street football tournament. The top two teams from each group played in the final to be crowned Kick N Test champions.
AN EXTRA BOOST OFF THE FIELD
What made this tournament special? The teams did not get points only for winning or drawing a match, but also for participating in the Grassroot Soccer activities and VCT over the course of the day. In the event of a tie, these extra points were more important than the points from a match. Out of 120 participants 65 youth were tested and every youth/player that was tested walked out with a t-shirt plus a bonus point to his/her team.
One player from each age group was chosen as Soccer Champion, based on his/her performance in the tournament, and one as Spirit Champion, based on his/her enthusiasm in the Grassroot Soccer activities.
Following the success and the out-come of this first tournament hosted by VAP ever, we are focused and determined to leave no stone unturned and take every soccer opportunity to fight HIV/AIDS amongst our community. VAP is hoping to organize more of this tournaments and it is now seeking more financial support from donors and well wisher from all the walks of the world.
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