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.
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 but our programmes can easily be tailored to other groups with different needs.
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.
A typical Tackle 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 Tackle methodology of using interactive football drills is consistent.
A typical one year Tackle programme in your community consists of three “blocks” of activity. One block comprises a week’s intensive coach training course led by experienced HIV/SRHR coach educators, ten football sessions delivered by coaches fully supported by trained support staff, 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 eventually take on more of the programme so that they can continue delivering. Tackle provide trained HIV/SRHR football coach facilitators, support to find funds, 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 Tackle methodology and relevant HIV/SRHR theory
Weeks 2 to 6 – Delivery: coaches deliver five Tackle 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 Tackle 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.