A pilot project that provides HIV education through football coaching, alongside VCT.
TackleAfrica coaches in Mathare, Nairobi are being trained in delivering VCT services. TackleAfrica is training appropriate members of its HIV education through football coaching network in delivering VCT services, and existing VCT practitioners in HIV education through football coaching. This allows TackleAfrica to provide pitch-side VCT services at weekly HIV education through football coaching sessions, conducted by youth role models. The 12-month pilot project involves 20 coaches/VCT practitioners and will reach around 800 young people in Mathare, Nairobi. The aim is to increase the proportion accessing VCT to 90%. TackleAfrica has learned from regular surveys that its work addresses issues of ignorance and fear around HIV testing. Young people demonstrate significantly improved knowledge of HIV transmission, how and where to access services and an increased desire to support rather than shun peers who are living with the virus. However, the final step of young people actually seeking and interacting with VCT services remains a challenge. 47% of young people engaged in TackleAfrica programmes for at least 6 months report having been for an HIV test compared to a baseline of 37%, but that still leaves a majority who are not accessing VCT despite increases in knowledge. Consultation suggests that reasons for this gap can include:
A lack of youth friendly services as well as stigma where the VCT services are either provided by older people or the centres are not accessible and friendly. Young people want to access services easily without conditions and have service providers whom they can trust and connect with in terms of understanding their issues
The ‘not getting around to it’ factor – young people may be open to testing, but life’s daily challenges and distractions mean they put off going for a test
This pilot scheme aims to establish whether the gap can be closed, by up-skilling coaches and creating a youth-friendly, easily accessible VCT service alongside a TackleAfrica football education programme. This 2014 project is funded by the RUSH Foundation.