TackleAfrica uses the power and popularity of football to deliver HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and services to young people on football pitches across the continent.
We do this by training African football coaches, games teachers and community leaders to use fun, interactive football sessions with inbuilt health messaging with their players. Alongside receiving sexual health information during football sessions, players also have the chance to access sexual health services at sessions and football tournaments, such as HIV testing, condoms and other contraception, and referrals to further clinical services.
As of 2020, we have trained coaches in twelve African countries and we continue to expand and train more each year
Football is hugely popular amongst young people in Africa, and you are never far from a football game, whether in an organised league or a simple kickabout with a makeshift ball. Football is therefore a great way to engage with young people regularly – something that traditional health programmes and clinics often struggle to do.
Football provides a platform for regular sexual health education with a respected and informed coach, and creates a safe space for young people to discuss sensitive issues.
Our programmes improve understanding of key sexual health issues, give young people the skills and confidence to make safe decisions, and provide access to youth friendly services such as HIV Testing and Counselling, contraception, and even procedures like Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC), recommended by the WHO and known to reduce the chances of contracting HIV.
HIV is still the number one killer of adolescents in Africa
When we started in 2002, our programmes focussed on HIV education, but now our coaches are trained to deliver information and services on a whole range of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights issues to help end the HIV epidemic, including contraception, family planning, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child Marriage and girls’ empowerment.
Building resilience to HIV and keeping young people safe from other sexual health issues requires an holistic approach that helps young people overcome challenges in their communities. It is not enough to simply offer information and services.
We seek to understand the barriers our players face when trying to access those services and our programmes aim to give young people tools to help them take control of their own sexual health and make safer sexual decisions throughout their lives.
How do our football sessions work?
Each football drill contains a sexual health message that unfolds as you play. For example a ball might represent a condom, and you can only play if you have the ball. This reinforces the importance of condoms during “play”, ie sexual relationships.
Drills are designed to be fun and interactive, so young people learn about sexual health through play, in a way they enjoy, remember and understand.
Through the messages in these drills, we inform and challenge young players to make safer decisions, limiting the impact of HIV and poor sexual health within their families and communities.
Who do we work with?
We work closely with a range of local partners, from grassroots Community-Based Organisations to international NGOs and government ministries. These partners advise us on their local HIV and SRHR priorities, and help us identify and train football coaches in their regions. This model allows us to reach thousands of young Africans every year. See our partners here.
Committed to Safeguarding
TackleAfrica is committed to the safeguarding of all the young people and staff we work with, and an active participant of the International Learning Set on Safeguarding in Sport. All TackleAfrica staff, volunteers, coaches and partner organisations undergo thorough safeguarding checks, training workshops, support and monitoring to ensure the high standards are in line with our Code of Conduct and Core Values, and Best Practice in the sector.