Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Football fighting back against AIDS

27
JUN
2011

Aids Alliance

Sixteen young people from fourteen countries are taking part in what is hoped will become an annual event to use football as a method of increasing community awareness of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

The Alliance and Albion in the Community’s Football Outreach Programme are supporting a group of young people working in the HIV response to visit the UK for a packed week of football and HIV prevention awareness training.

The project aims to empower young people in developing countries to develop their skills in leadership, football coaching and to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention, using football as a way of reaching out and engaging the community.  

An impressive new football stadium in Brighton, UK will be the location of the training. The Amex Stadium is due to open in July with state of the art facilities. Professional football coaches and experts in HIV/AIDS awareness will deliver the training programme.

 “This is an exciting project and we’re delighted with the number of Alliance linking organisations that are sending young people to take part,” said Sam McPherson, Associate Director of the Alliance and one of the project creators.

“Effective HIV prevention is vital for the new generation of young people who are becoming sexually active. It’s important to reach out in ways young people can understand and connect with. Football is a great way of doing that. These young people will return equipped with new ideas and ways to do this,” he said.

Albion in the Community is the charitable arm of the professional football club, Brighton and Hove Albion, who are currently in the Championship league. The club are supporting the project, providing facilities and staff.

Jacob Naish who is the other project creator adds, “Albion in the Community is excited about the opportunities that we believe football can bring to improving teamwork, communication and health. Those taking part will work hard during the week but it will be an inspiring and exciting time for them. Many of the participants will have never left their country before. It’s going to be a great journey for them.”

Ginandjar Koesmayadi is one of those who are taking part. He leads Rumah Cemara, an Alliance linking organisations in Indonesia working with people living with HIV and people who use drugs. Rumah Cemara is already using football to reach out into their local community to increase understanding and break down the stigma around HIV.

“I have been living for almost 11 years with HIV. Football continues to be the source of my happiness. For me it has a broader meaning than merely sport; I look deeper into the essence of playing football and the values in it to make changes in my life,” explains Ginan.  

“What I do is more than just using football as an activity to increase the quality of life of people who live with HIV and people who use drugs; I believe that football can also be used as an effective intervention to educate people about HIV and drug abuse, as well as to reduce stigma and discrimination.

“This is a great opportunity to get some more formal training on football coaching and HIV prevention to improve my knowledge and skills in this area,” he added.

The training will run in early September. We will be updating the website as the project develops.

    I believe that football can be used as an effective intervention to educate people about HIV