Location and general information
Over the last few years we have become aware that the various health challenges facing young people in Lesotho are interconnected and that there is a need for a holistic approach to health education.
These challenges include the following:
- HIV is prevalent in Lesotho and young people are vulnerable to infection due to a culture of multi-partner relationships, pressure to have sex at a young age, a lack of access to HIV testing and counselling, stigma and discrimination.
- Drug and alcohol abuse are another key driver of new HIV infections.
- Both poverty and food insecurity contribute to the propagation of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and respiratory illnesses.
- Poor standards of hygiene lead to the spread of preventable communicable diseases such as tuberculosis.
- Road accidents kill or injure more than 1,500 people every year in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho.
The young people taking part in the programme come from a range of underprivileged and vulnerable backgrounds including:
- Street children
- HIV+ youth
- Teenage mothers
- Children and teenagers living in poverty
- At-risk children and vulnerable girls
- Children engaged in child labour
The project includes the development and delivery of a holistic and integrated health and well-being programme for 3,000 children and teenagers in the Maseru district of Lesotho, using football to engage, educate and motivate positive behaviour change.
The programme will focus on key health challenges faced by vulnerable girls and boys, including:
- Communicable and noncommunicable diseases
- Sanitation and hygiene
- Road safety
- Mental health
- Access to health services
- Environmental protection
There will also be a strong gender-equality and life-skills component, with personal development critical to ensuring that acquired knowledge leads to sustainable changes in attitude and behaviour.
The project will conduct a mapping exercise to identify partners in other districts of Lesotho that can be trained to deliver the programme going forward. This will ensure effective future scalability of the initiative to reach many more vulnerable young people in Lesotho. The programme will also be developed with a high level of flexibility so that it can be adapted to a variety of health challenges, offering potential for delivery by other organizations beyond Lesotho and for the most pressing health challenges in any given community.
The programme includes the following sessions:
- Welcome to Good Health & Well-being through Football: A focus on building self-esteem and gaining the confidence to be active members of the programme. It considers the importance of making your own choices, building a support structure and setting goals.
- Tackling HIV: Covers the basics of the HIV virus and encourages healthy behaviours that prevent infection.
- Goal Protection: Promotes the importance of protection and prevention when it comes to sexual health.
- Be Fair (gender equality): Focuses on promoting gender equality, challenges stereotypes about the role of women in society.
- Only Girl Goals: Reinforces the importance of gender equality and valuing the contribution of women and girls in all areas of society.
- Nutrition & HIV: Explores how good nutrition and regular meals can boost the immune system of someone living with HIV, and how diet can support the effectiveness of medication.
- Healthy versus Unhealthy: Empowers participants by giving them the knowledge to judge what is healthy, and what is not.
- Be Healthy and Be Clean: Focuses on healthy eating and exercise and how developing healthy behaviours can reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The session also covers the importance of basic hygiene and sanitation in preventing illnesses such as diarrhoea and food poisoning.
- Balanced Football: Focuses on eating healthily and the importance of a balanced diet in maintaining good health.
- Planet Football: Focuses on the importance of protecting the environment, including topics such as recycling, single-use plastic and rubbish collections. The session includes a group discussion about how they can make a difference to the environment in their own communities.
- Crossbar Soap of Challenge: Reinforces the importance of cleanliness and promotes safe practices regarding hygiene and sanitation.
- Be Safe on the Road: Focuses on road safety, avoiding risky behaviours and encouraging safe practices when crossing roads.
- Traffic Football: Reinforces the importance of avoiding risky behaviours for pedestrians and the importance of crossing roads safely.
- Balanced Future: Brings together everything learned in the programme. Each participant is helped to develop an individual plan and goals to improve their health in the longer term.
The programme will be delivered by our experienced and inspirational coaches through local partnerships, as well as reaching out-of-school youth through an extensive network of community-based organizations and community mobilisers.
- 3000 children and young people complete the programme, demonstrating improved knowledge and attitude related to health
- 3000 children and young people have improved health and well-being
- 15 young people trained as programme coaches
- 300 young people have improved access to health services through referrals to external health provision
- 1000 children and young people linked to further development opportunities with Kick4Life
The project will include a robust approach to monitoring and evaluation that will assess changes in knowledge, attitude and behaviour, in line with the specific targets of SDG 3.