We met with some of the coaches from Grassroots soccer to discuss impact, best practices, share hard-learnt lessons and outline challenges we face in the sector of sexual and reproductive health education for adolescents.
Grassroots soccer is an non-profit organisation that uses the power of soccer to connect young people to mentors, information and the health services they need to thrive. Grassroots Soccer implements in three regions namely South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. They provide a soccer-based health curriculum called 'SKILLZ', facilitated by coaches who also act as peer-educators and mentors, providing a safe-space for adolescents to have vital conversations and fun.
At the International AIDS Conference 2018, we got the opportunity to meet with with some of the coaches from Grassroots Soccer South Africa on what some of their challenges and great lessons have been and what gaps they feel need to be addressed in order to support the youth. The International AIDS Conference 2018 was a great platform to meet and share ideas and lessons with people who are using different methods to achieve the same goal. Where Grassroots soccer uses sport as a vehicle to deliver sexual and reproductive health education to adolescents, DREAMS Thina ABantu Abasha has the opportunity to use sisterhood,community and social media to provide young girls with the guidance, information and resources they need.
"The International AIDS Conference 2018 was a great platform to meet and share ideas and lessons with people who are using different methods to achieve the same goal."
An important challenge was highlighted by the Grassroots Soccer team relating to implementation. They described that one of the greatest challenges they experienced during implementation was ensuring the retention of beneficiaries within the programme. We knew that we had to plan to mitigate this to implement the DREAMS Thina Abantu Abasha programme effectively. As a result, we trained our peer- educators to facilitate roadshows as well as weekly sessions so that one-day interventions could still reach girls who may face challenges attending a weekly programme.