We have programmes across three regions of sub-Saharan Africa: East, Southern and West Africa.
All of our programmes involve working with local partner organisations to support their football coaches and peer educators to deliver effective, fun, interactive football-based curricula with young people and Key Populations (those considered Most-At-Risk) in their communities. We design programmes that support specific groups, or work towards specific outcomes. Specific target groups could include Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW), prisoners, Young People Living With HIV (YPLHIV) or the LGBT community. Specific outcomes are those that are important to the target group and the local community’s response to HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, such as encouraging young people to access voluntary HIV Testing and Counselling, or building resilience to harmful practices such as Child Marriage or Female Genital Mutilation, or providing support for those affected by Gender Based Violence. Programmes are always designed with the local partner’s specific needs at the core.
A typical TackleAfrica programme lasts between one and three years, with the structure roughly the same across all countries, but with the flexibility to adapt delivery and curricula as needed. The football sessions we use on an AGYW programme in rural Malawi are not the same as the sessions for a Medical Male Circumcision programme with young men in Nairobi but the TackleAfrica methodology of using interactive football drills is consistent.
A typical one year TackleAfrica programme in your community consists of three “blocks” of activity. One block comprised a week’s intensive coach training course, ten football sessions and then a football tournament with SRHR and other services. This “block” is repeated three times throughout the year. Most programmes also include a facilitator training component where a small project team is based within the local partner organisation and trained to deliver the programme. TackleAfrica provide financial support, curriculum design assistance and ongoing monitoring and quality assurance.
Example Block 1, roughly 15 weeks
- Pre-week 1 – Facilitator training: Project team is trained in advance of the coach training on how to deliver
- Week 1 – Training: 20 coaches attend a one week intensive training, Monday to Friday, full-time – a mix of classroom and field-based activities to learn the TackleAfrica methodology and relevant HIV/SRHR theory
- Weeks 2 to 6 – Delivery: coaches deliver five TackleAfrica football drills in the community over five weeks. Coaches normally work with between 20 to 30 players, primarily adolescents
- Week 7 – Refresher Day: all coaches come together for a Refresher Day for feedback and support
- Weeks 8 to 12 – Delivery: coaches deliver a further five TackleAfrica football drills in the community over five weeks
- Week 13 – Tournament: teams and the community come together for a one day football tournament where HIV/SRHR services, contraception and other services can be accessed in a youth-friendly, stigma free environment
- Week 14 – Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning: surveys, focus groups, analysis and preparation for next block
Block 2 – repeat as above
Block 3 – repeat as above and submit end of year report.
Coaches typically work with between 20 and 30 players each week, for thirty sessions a year. As a priority, coaches work with high risk groups in areas of the highest need in Sub-Saharan Africa, mostly Adolescent Girls and Young Women, Young People Living with HIV, prisoners, those living in slum or informal settlements, or those in very rural areas with limited access to healthcare services. Most of our players are between 9 and 25 years old.
Ideally, we want to reach young people before and as they become sexually active, giving young people the information, skills and confidence to take control of their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and make safer, informed decisions.
Local partners are free to select their own coaches, and offer the opportunity to anyone they feel suitable. We train all sorts of coaches at all levels but as a guide, the most impactful coaches tend to be:
– games teachers, teachers, sports coaches, peer leaders, youth leaders or other role models in the community
– reasonably active and interested in sport, particularly football
– already working with, or interested in working with, adolescents
– already know about, or interested in learning about, sexual and reproductive health
– willing to learn new skills and open to new ways of learning
Coaches do not need to be skilled football players, although it’s an advantage. A positive attitude, ability to work with young people and at-risk groups on sexual health issues, and a willingness to learn new methodologies are more important than football skill.