Sport
 Kenya
Project #1885

Using the power of soccer to fight HIV/AIDS

by Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)
Vetted

Through the donation of condoms from the National AIDS and STI Control Programme – NASCOP, VAP coaches are geared up to hit the streets of Nairobi under the ‘Safe Mtaani’ campaign drive to distribute condoms to various sprawling entertainment joints including local youth football clubs training centres.The drive which will be done before the completition of Skillz and condoms football league is meant to boost the league in making sure condoms are easily accessible to the targeted youth and community members. The whole exercise is aiming to promote the efficacy of condoms, its effectiveness against the most dangerous of sexually transmitted infections-HIV, the virus that causes AIDS and other unintended pregnancy as well as against gonorrhoe,chlamydia,and trichomoniasis.The exercise aims to distribute 10,000 condoms by the end of Skillz Kenya and condoms football league.

 

As the 2016 European championship football extravaganza is stealing the show by entertaining and attracting the eyes of almost every football fan in this world, the new Skillz Kenya HIV football league is also attracting and taking care of the health of young lads and the communities in various fields of Eastlands, Nairobi Kenya, thousands of miles away from France the host nation of Euro 2016. The spiced up league, consists of 20 teams of ages 16-20 years who are also taken through HIV/AIDS awareness drills with all fields supplied with boxes of free condoms for pick-ups and distribution as well as flyers with usage information. The gist of the Skillz football league is that winners will not only be determined by the points garnered but also completion of Skillz Kenya HIV interventions by players and distribution number of condoms under the ‘Tujikinge Mtaani’ (We Protect ourselves in the neighborhood) campaign drive by participating team coaches to various youth football clubs, groups and entertainment joints.VAP monitoring and evaluation team will develop a well-defined monitoring system that would track the details of the whole exercise of condom distribution. Skillz coaches would also back up the exercise before the league ends by spending one day distributing condoms to various targeted youth joints, groups including youth football teams who also feature in both lower and upper football leagues of the Kenya Football Federation while teaching them on the proper usage of condoms. The whole exercise is aiming to distribute over 10,000 condoms by the end of the Skillz Kenya football league all in alignment with the UNAIDS, Geneva February 2016 call for 20 billion condom distribution by 2020 and Skillz Kenya’s aim of changing the behaviors of Kenyan youth with the ultimate goal of a reduced HIV infection rate in Kenya.

One of the innovative ways that may help break down barriers to testing is the approval of HIV self-testing kits, recently approved by theWHO and in Kenya through the ministry of health. As an organization with a track record of arming itself in the fight against HIV by using the power and the popularity of the game of football ,VAP in partnership with Medical University of South Carolina has been in the forefront of utilizing the oral-self testing innovation by administering a series of pilot research on football and oral-self testing during Kick ‘N’Test VCT football tournaments targeting participants over 14 years and community members at large. This research study has received a funding boost from Medical University of South Carolina through the Centre for Global Health (CGH), which will go towards supporting various pilot studies and the Kick N Test VCT football tournaments to be conducted in different communities around Nairobi. This study aims to: 1) assess HIV testing behavior at the Kick N’ Test VCT community football tournaments: 2) assess perspectives of the tournament attendees on HIV testing, self-testing for HIV, and HIV risk behaviors: 3) assess the number of HIV positive individuals attending the football tournaments, and estimate the proportion who would be interested in a group approach to improving treatment access and adherence: 4) identify cultural and religious barriers to practicing safe sex behaviors. The results of this study are expected to inform future research into improving access to care for HIV positive individuals and the feasibility and acceptability of HIV self-testing among HIV negative individuals, and serve as evidence of the effectiveness of VAP program in improving HIV testing rates as well as identifying specific needs in the population.

With the dust of a historic qualification of Kenya’s national women football team to play in the Africa cup of nations for the first time later in the year 2016 not settled down, VAP stirred up the air by organizing a girls Kick N Test VCT tournament with an aim of making and maintaining the ‘historic trend’ by testing more girls and young women. Inspired by the stellar performance of their national women football team a total of thirty teams comprised of girls and young women came from all the walks and townships of Nairobi to put their best feet forward on the pitch and their best finger off the pitch for testing purposes. As part of VAP’s aim and responsibility to change the behaviors of Kenyan youth with an ultimate goal of a reduced HIV infection rate, the tournament was characterized with lots of activities despite football. Such activities included HIV testing for participating teams, fans, community members and the continuous pilot trials on football and oral self-testing in our communities targeting individuals over 14 years of age. For the first time in the history of Kick ‘N’ Test VCT football tournament, the event witnessed a huge turnout of teams that resulted into a high number of individuals getting to know their HIV status that forced the event to end up later in the evening and with the health service providers running out of testing equipments.

                Most Tested Team!

They may had not put up a fantastic footwork on the pitch that could have allowed them to win a trophy but Mathare Girls football club  were very much spirited in seeking solace by doing more of  finger work and mobilizing their football mates and their supporters to get tested and gain more points off the pitch. Their efforts were not in vain as their faces were painted with smiles as they walked out with a trophy of the most tested tea."Am glad to have known my HIV status." said 16 years old Caroline from Mathare Girls football club

Coaches Refresher Training Course

Dusting off the December holidays and its attached hang-overs, three seasoned master coaches with vast experience about Skillz program and HIV, led a battery of forty coaches through a three day refresher training course for all SKILLZ coaches. With newly recruited coaches on board, the aim of the workshop was to introduce Skillz program to the new coaches and getting the rest of the coaches stay on course with the program, catching up with the emerging trends and to make sure that everybody reads on the same page as far as program delivery is concerned. The trainings also included the importance of measuring the impact and how to conduct appropriate and effective qualitative and quantitative monitoring and evaluation with the program participants.” The trainings have been very effective and interesting. The inclusion of some plays and fun as they learn fit the youth so well.” Said Wanja, a new Skillz coach.

Training With Coaches Across Continent

For the sixth consecutive year VAP played host to Coaches Across continents in conducting a 5 day sports for social impact trainings with over 40 coaches, some from VAP and others from different clubs and organizations. With a split of the coaches being returning coaches and some being new, the aim of the training was to introduce new football for social impact games and learning new games and skills from the local coaches in attendance. CAC’s certified community impact coaches from VAP led in most of the games teaching new games and skills to the rest of the coaches Some of the new games learned and shared included topic covering;HIV,EDUCATION, and ENVIRONMENT.The invited coaches and organizations who partner with VAP programs took home a bonus knowledge of football for life skills that they would implement with their respective teams, while the host the trainings supplemented additional knowledge and expertise in delivering sports based life intervention programs. The coaches in attendance agreed to form a whatzz up and a facebook networking group where they would share out their activities, information including child protection policy etc.

Programs Around The Schools

With schools having kicked off in the month of January, it’s all systems go, with different programs actively running in schools. Armed with fresh information from the refresher course with targets and goals already set, the coaches are reaching out to secondary and primary school students as well as community members across Nairobi. Despite the awareness programs, plans are afoot for this year’s thematic community events that are generally perceived as a ‘bonus’ to the ongoing awareness program both for the participants and community members where they would access health services and other life changing information from various partners. Additionally with the approval from Kenya medical research institute and the partnership of other institutions,VAP is setting up the stage to run a couple of pilot studies surrounding its

 

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Organization Information

Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​www.vijanaamanipamoja.webs.com
Project Leader:
Nancy Waweru
Founder
Nairobi, Kenya
$29,830 raised of $60,000 goal
 
 
272 donations
$30,170 to go
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