Project #1885

Using the power of soccer to fight HIV/AIDS

by Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)

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

After graduating in their school last year,19 years old Stephanie Njeri has just made her mind by joining VAP as a volunteer coach. Stephanie was an active participant of Skillz Kenya program at her former school where she was involved in all the sessions that led to her program graduation. Despite participating in the Skillz Kenya program, she was an avid football player in her school and a charismatic student leader.
“I want to give back to the community what was given to me.I want to help other young children to get an opportunity to better themselves, make informed healthy decisions and contribute towards developing our communities. This experience will act as a springboard to my future career of working with the community even as I await for a college call up.” Said Stephanie

A mixture of 3 young girls and 2 young boys was part of the team that represented VAP at the just concluded third edition of East Africa streetfootballworld Festival held in Iringa at the backyard of IDYDC who were the host organization. The one week event was also attended by a cross section of other twelve streetfootballworld member organizations from East Africa. During the one week event, the young participants were busy involved in football games, workshops and cultural exchanges geared to address social challenges across the region. The football games were played in a football3 format a unique way of playing football considering the basic principles of fair play, inclusion and respect conducted by the participants themselves in the absence of the referee. The event also featured skills sessions from English premier league and the British council conducted by Zambian educators who have been trained by the British Council and the premier league. In this session, VAP was represented by Coach Kenneth Otieno who also doubled as the youth leader. “As the head coach of VAP football club and the organizer of all VAP leagues in schools and community centres, the ripple effect of the knowledge gained would go a long way in strengthening VAP football activities.” Said coach Ken

The commemoration of world’s AIDS day wouldn’t be complete at VAP without the Kick “N” Test VCT football tournament. Twenty eight football teams of mixed gender from different regions of Nairobi had their roads leading to Eastlands Nairobi, the hotbed of Kenyan’s finest grassroot football with a track record of producing majority of Kenya’s great football stars and coaches who have ascended to the echelons of Kenya’s football including playing in the national team. The participants came from far and wide in buses and matatus (Nairobi’s common means of public transportation) with highly pumped up music and their guns blazing, with every team eyeing for the tournament’s trophy by winning the game on the field, and winning the game off the field through HIV testing. The pomp and colour Kick N Test VCT football tournament that was played on a knock-out basis attracted the presence of two health service providers: Eastern Deanery Aids Relief Program (EDARP) and Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) who pitched up VCT tents ready with syringes and other testing paraphernalia. The traveling team fans, team coaches and members of the community had their share of the game by visiting the tents for HIV testing and donating their off the field extra points to their respective teams.

  HIV Ambassadors

The tournament also provided an opportunity for some participants to cap off the event by officially being confirmed as HIV ambassadors in their respective communities after successfully completing SKILLZ Kenya program, an HIV awareness program that’s conducted in schools and communities.The Program targets both boys and girls and creates a simple, but powerful connections between football and life, and helps young people take small steps to achieve their goals, stay strong when faced with challenges, and protect themselves and others from HIV and AIDS. All these is done through a series of interactive games, activities, and discussions where participants gain a tangible understanding of core messages related to HIV/AIDS, and get a chance to practice the skills necessary to sustainable behaviour change and make informed healthy choices for themselves.

HIV Oral-Self Testing Research Study

With the partnership of Medical School of South Carolina and VAP’s monitoring and evaluation team, the event was taken a notch higher with some breaking new grounds of a pilot research study aimed to: assess perpectives of the tournament attendees on HIV testing, self-testing for HIV, barriers to receiving care for HIV, and risk behaviors, estimate proportion of HIV positive subjects who would be interested in a group approach to improving treatment access and adherence, assess proportion of adult subjects who are aware of HIV self-testing, and assess perceptions about self-testing for HIV, identify cultural and religious barriers to practicing safe sex behaviors among adult subjects in the population, assess the proportion of adult subjects attending a community football tournament who tested for HIV at the tournament, estimate the proportion of those subjects who know that they are HIV positive and of those subjects who know that they are HIV positive, estimate the proportion who have been on treatment in the past and proportion currently on treatment. The results of this study is expected to inform future research into improving access to care for HIV positive 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.

The Most Tested Team

Despite losing on the field, joy could still prevail on the faces of Kayole football team who emerged winners of the ‘Most Tested ‘team. The team bagged the ‘most tested team’ trophy after rallying its team players, coach and fans who jammed VCT tents to know their HIV status and accumulating the bonus points garnered through off the field. Kayole FC which is based in Kayole slum a community with an estimated population of over 298,000 people has a large population of youth who face a myriad of challenges including: lack of jobs, prostitution, teenage pregnancies, involvement in criminal activities, and HIV infections. The team has also been participating in Skillz Kenya program and have gained community role model status in matters concerning HIV.

HIV Status

18 years old, Filisia  who trades her football with Makadara combined football club scores off the field to secure the last minutes crucial bonus points for her team. Filisia who plays in the midfield doubles up as the team captain for her team and has been a Skillz Kenya participant in her school at Kariobangi secondary school.”As a graduate of Skillz Kenya and a captain of my team, I have to lead from the front in the fight against HIV. Am hoping to join VAP as a skillz coach so that I can teach about HIV.” Said Filisia.

  Thank You!

Hardly can we believe that we are on the tail end of the year 2015 and that the year 2016 is now beckoning. Looking at our archive, a lot has been accomplished and a lot of lives have been transformed. This wouldn’t be possible without the combined and the unwavering support of great people: staff, coaches, volunteers, friends, community members and participants even though we acknowledge that there’s work load still awaiting us in 2016. Additionally, we would also like to express our utmost thanks to our esteemed partners, donors, supporters and other like-minded organizations for their key role towards VAP’s movement. As we are on the counting down to the holiday seasons, we would like to wish everyone a happy festive season and a prosperous 2016…


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Organization Information

Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nancy Waweru
Nairobi, Kenya
$30,030 raised of $60,000 goal
274 donations
$29,970 to go
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