When the whistle blows for half-time, players and coaches gather together to discuss how the first half went and how the second half can be improved. Our programmes are no different. Halfway through every block of ten football drills, we hold a Refresher Day, which brings coaches and project staff together to do a type of half-time assessment.
On our DREAMS Innovation Challenge (IC) programme in Nairobi, funded by PEPFAR and administrated by JSI, the TackleAfrica coaches at Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) and project staff recently met for their first Refresher Day. The DREAMS-IC programme uses football drills to reach youth on two keys areas: HIV voluntary testing and counselling, and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, which has been proven to reduce transmission of HIV from women to men.
Refresher Days are always fun: TackleAfrica coaches get to meet each other again, as well as the project staff, and share their experiences on how the drills are going. Project staff can resolve any issues and make sure coaches are fully supported to be able to deliver the drills to a high standard. Coaches also get to talk about their success stories, and give feedback on how players are responding during the sessions. Tweaks to the curriculum, and suggestions for the drills, are often discussed during Refresher Days, with the aim of encouraging coaches and players to input into their own programme.
One coach at the Refresher Day, Lorrine, told us “We sure did enjoy the day. The drills are terrific and the coaches were very excited. Coaches who’d found it a bit hard in their communities found it very easy when we went through the drills again. It was all fun and fantastic!”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a TackleAfrica Refresher Day without football, and we also play all the drills again, preparing the coaches to go back to the communities and deliver more great drills. During the later stages of a programme, coaches themselves become assessors, not only delivering the drills, but providing support and feedback for other coaches, and making improvements to the programme. Refresher Days are a great opportunity to discuss this with coaches.
We wish all our coaches on the DREAMS-IC programme at MYSA the best of luck as they embark on their second block of session delivery. And we’re sure the half-time refresher day means the second half will be even better than the first.
If you’re interested in getting involved with TackleAfrica, from fundraising at home to shadowing a team on one of our programmes in Africa, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Visit www.tackleafrica.org/get-involved for details.