In 2015 Coaching for Hope secured a 3 year deal with Puma to run a Youth Leadership project in Ivory Coast to be branded “The Yaya Touré Young Leaders Project”.
Working with the Association of Young Workers of Ivory Coast we identified 25 young people aged between 16 and 21 who all attended a football coaching and leadership skills course over a period of 3 months. They were then asked to work in groups of 3 or 4 to implement a small project of their choice which focussed on health, education or the environment.
60% of 15 – 35 year olds are unemployed and many young men are drawn into the deadly “microbes” who terrorise urban neighbourhoods. During the civil war which started in 2011, 3,000 died in clashes and many young people and children were recruited to fight on both sides. This has led to Abidjan being rated as one of the worst cities in the world to live in due to the violence and instability that afflicts its residents.
Ivory Coast has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in West Africa and very little work on prevention and education is taking place. Some of the Young Leaders chose to run HIV awareness courses in schools using our curriculum. Others ran recycling and trash collection projects and cleaned up their neighbourhoods.
This led to the community raising funds for trash cans to be made and installed and these are now regularly emptied which has led to a healthier environment for the people living there. They also organised work brigades to clear standing water which contributes to high rates of malaria by acting as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Now that Puma have issued a new contract to us following the merger we are getting ready to train the new cohort of Young Leaders who will focus on working in primary schools using our HIV and Sexual Health sessions. Yaya is promising to visit during an international break so watch this space!