Thanks to further funding from the BT Supporters Club and Comic Relief we are thrilled to have started a new partnership in Hoima district in western Uganda with HONECRIC. HONECRIC is the Hoima Network of Child Rights Clubs, a fantastic organisation working to enhance the participation of young people in communities, especially children with disabilities and especially young girls. Hoima is known as oil country in Uganda, home to some of the largest oil fields and refineries. With oil of course comes money, but with money can come problems. The mining industry has long battled to contain HIV epidemics that flourish among their workers and surrounding communities.
Together with HONECRIC, we have embarked on a two year programme to train twenty coaches and six supporting staff to deliver sexual health information and services through football. The coaches will reach hundreds of young women and girls in Hoima, providing them with the knowledge and confidence to have good sexual and reproductive health, and limiting the impact of HIV. Every week these fun, interactive football drills will allow young people to learn important sexual health information in a way they will enjoy, understand and remember. If our other programmes are anything to go by, these young people will also spread the word of what they’ve learnt to friends and family, multiplying the number of people the programme reaches to the thousands, and ultimately limiting the spread of HIV in Uganda.
Catherine Kobusingye, above, is the inspirational coordinator at HONECRIC, working tirelessly to ensure children’s voices are heard and their rights are protected. After the first workshop, Cathy said “TackleAfrica has made our work simple. We have been looking for ways to involve the girl child in full participation and wondering how best to share with them on sexual health issues including HIV testing. Now we have drills designed by TackleAfrica which we shall use, and it will also help complement the district HIV department. This will attract the young people since they love football and love to have fun. As the saying goes, when I touch and feel I am able to learn. These girl children will learn about sexual health since they are learning it through football.”
The HONECRIC coach facilitators were amazed and shocked how one could easily pass on a message about HIV testing thorough football, when they learnt and played a drill called Test and Test Again. The football skill they practised was dribbling, but the message was about the important of testing regularly. The coaches believe this style of learning through play will help them pass on sexual health information in a much more engaging way than simply gathering the children to speak to them. They will have fun and they will learn – and this exactly why we think football is a fantastic way to prevent HIV.