TackleaAfrica’s relationship with Common Goal has gone from strength to strength in recent years. The chance to partner up with world class footballers has proved extremely successful and has allowed TackleAfrica to reach new heights in distributing information, services and resources regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights across Africa.
In 2017, German winger Serge Gnabry joined the ‘Common Goal’ movement and in turn pledged 1% of his salary to support Sport for Development organisations in delivering essential programmes which educate global societies and campaign for a better world.
That’s where we come in! TackleAfrica has benefitted from the Bayern Munich ace’s generosity – a welcome contribution allowing us to reach more than 23,000 people across 12 different African countries with sexual and reproductive health and rights information, each year.
In addition to his financial support, Gnabry visited a TackleAfrica programme in the birth country of his father; the Ivory Coast.
After visiting our project in Grand Bassam (a short drive from the capital, Abidjan) – in partnership with AEJT-CI – he told Common Goal of his desire to become further involved: “If you take the opportunity to go on a trip like this,you will want to do more afterwards.”
“I’m 100% sure, 1000% sure that, once you have experienced it locally, no matter whether in Africa, Asia, or somewhere else, you think differently than when you hear from far away at home that there are problems or that help is needed.”
Gnabry was enthusiastic, engaging with the players at a girls orphanage and community sports centre and helping to deliver sexual health messages through football drills. He explains a particular activity that stuck by him:
“During a scoring exercise, seeing the ball as a virus when it goes into the goal. The virus has infected the body. If the goalkeeper saves the goal, that’s the defence system, which blocks it. Such methods, I think, also stick with the kids, and the more often they do them, the better.”
1,075 coaches were trained last year to carry out more than 24,500 of the interactive sessions that Gnabry describes.
Sessions can be used as a platform to educate as well as providing access to resources and services such as the 100,000+ contraceptives accessed and 10,000+ voluntary HIV tests taken.
He highlights how important a tool football is to education and culture: “I think Africa is a continent, one of the biggest ones that loves football, that supports football. Football is a part of their lives, it will accompany them their whole lives. It is through the methods, through football, that you can teach them something.”
We can’t wait to carry on using this amazing sport, alongside Common Goal heroes like Serge Gnabry, to continue to educate young people across Africa on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Watch this space – we may have some more football legends on the horizon, ready to come aboard and support the team at TackleAfrica.